Sunsuper is expanding its investment team to help it take greater advantage of investment opportunities.

The fund, which runs $28 billion in assets, is increasingly using its size to negotiate exclusive partnership deals with fund managers to purchase property, loans, infrastructure and private companies. Currently around 29 per cent of the fund is invested in unlisted assets held in property, infrastructure, private capital and hedge funds.

In February, the fund became the majority owner (98 per cent) in the $240m valued Discovery Holiday Parks, after buying out shares owned by Next Capital, Allegro Funds and Macquarie Funds.

David Hartley, chief investment officer for the fund, said such deals were one of the reasons he was looking to expand the size of the investment team, which currently stands at 18 people.

“We are developing more and more of these co-investment relationships. The best ones are the exclusive deals, because you can take your time and look at them from a range of perspectives.”

Some of the deals arise where private equity or distressed debt managers seek to partner with institutional investors, where in the past they might have collaborated with another private equity firm or a bank. The restriction imposed on bank lending by the Dodd-Frank Act and the Basel II and III treaties has left a gap in the market, which superannuation funds can fill.

One of the responsibilities Sunsuper faces as a owner of private capital is to appoint non-executive directors to oversee assets. It is currently working with an executive search team to appoint three non-executive directors to the board of Adelaide based, Discovery Holiday Parks.

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