The chief investment officer of UniSuper, the $28 billion superannuation fund for Australian universities and research organisations, says he has not been impressed with private equity fund returns.

“Not really,” says John Pearce, when asked if he was impressed by the returns of leveraged buyout funds. “There are better opportunities in property and infrastructure than private equity and that’s where we’ll take on our exposure to illiquid assets.”

Pearce says he has not made “a massive adjustment” to the fund’s portfolio this year.

“We’ve changed our equity weightings toward companies that give a bit more earnings certainty, like AREITs with low gearing that have a steady income stream,” he says.

UniSuper has stakes in Australian-listed banks and resources companies but has “steered away” from smaller resource companies, says Pearce.

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