HESTA is seeking to invest in the funding needs of the health and community services sector, where most of its members are employed.
The freedom to investigate such possibilities arises after the restructuring and expanding of the investment team to allow chief investment officer, Rob Fowler, to take on a more strategic role.
Debby Blakey, chief executive of HESTA, said: “If we can look for opportunities where we can achieve our financial objective of delivering a great return, but also deliver on the objective of actually aligning ourselves with our members, this is an absolute win-win.”
Opportunities which fall under the description of impact investing and which include real assets, social impact bonds and equity will be exploited through the strong connections and insights the board has with health and community services.
Blakey said: “The board has an insight of what the real forces at play are and where you would want to get involved and where you would not. There are some large employers in health and community services and it is very interesting to explore their opportunities and needs from a partner point of view.”
Blakey added that such idiosyncratic projects would not diminish HESTA’s commitment to collaboration with other industry funds on projects of mutual benefit.
In September, HESTA partnered with Social Ventures Australia on the launch of an impact investment fund to make investments in a range of housing projects and social impact bonds designed to deliver both a financial return and a quantifiable social impact. It invested $30 million in this project.
The move to exploit niche investment opportunities that match member interests and that arise from an awareness of employer needs is also being explored by NGS Super.
It is considering whether to fund new schools in New South Wales due to a large spike in demand for school places.