Rest to support long-term impact investing pipeline

12 December 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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Superannuation members have much to gain from impact investments, Rest believes, as the industry super fund targets a 1 per cent allocation towards this strategy by 2026.

Speaking at the Treasurer’s third investor roundtable last week, Vicki Doyle, Rest chief executive, emphasised the value of impacting investing for its nearly 2 million members.

These assets aim to produce strong financial returns while also secondarily providing a measurable and positive impact on society and the environment.

To accomplish this, the fund will be a member of a new Expert Advisory Group of government, banks, and other funds to encourage a pipeline of investments supporting the social enterprise sector.

“Rest represents around 1 million Australians aged 30 or younger. We are always looking for investment opportunities that deliver long-term financial benefits, while also contributing to improved social and environmental outcomes,” Doyle shared at the roundtable.

“Many of our members are decades from retirement and we seek quality investment opportunities that enhance their financial interests and help them retire into a better, fairer, and more sustainable world.”

The fund is now targeting an allocation of 1 per cent to impact investments by 2026. 

It made its first impact investment into the Palisade Impact Fund earlier this year, which has a focus on unlisted investments that intentionally target solutions to environmental and social challenges.

Rest also announced a $1 billion investment in renewable energy infrastructure manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners last month, marking the next step on its decarbonisation journey.

The CEO added: “We look forward to working together with the government, industry, and social enterprises to help cultivate a strong environment for impact investments in Australia.”

Moreover, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced a series of principles to guide six sector decarbonisation plans currently under development by the government to support Australia’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“The sector-by-sector plans will also support a long-term pipeline of good quality investments for the transition to net zero and assist us in finding new investment opportunities today. This can only be a good thing for our members, many of whom will retire in a post-2050 world,” Doyle said.

During the roundtable, Chalmers also stated the government will soon consult to improve the super performance test amid claims that it disincentives sustainable investment from funds.

While the test has enhanced super fund’s investment performance, the Treasurer noted concerns that it may be discouraging investment in asset classes that strengthen the economy, namely, the net-zero transition.

“A consultation paper canvassing options to address these issues will be released soon,” he said.

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