AUSTRALIA/SOUTH KOREA - South Korea's National Pension Service, the nation's biggest investor, bought an office building in Sydney for A$685m (US$626m) to diversify its investments as Australia's economy strengthens.
The service signed an agreement on December 30 to buy the 44- story Aurora Place office tower overlooking Sydney Harbour, it said in an e-mail today. The seller is Commonwealth Property Investment Trust, a fund created by Colonial First State Global Asset Management to buy the building 10 years ago, Colonial First spokeswoman Malvina Zayats said by phone in Sydney.
The transaction is the largest in Australia's property market since December 2007, making South Korea the second- biggest source of funding after Germany, said Kevin Stanley, head of research at CB Richard Ellis, the world's largest property broker. Australia was among few economies to avoid last year's global recession.
"Australia is showing one of the fastest paces of economic recovery compared with key developed nations," the Korean fund said in its e-mail. "The recovery of its commercial property market is also materializing."
Growth will accelerate in 2010 as demand rises for exports such as iron ore, and as prime minister Kevin Rudd spends A$22bn on infrastructure including schools, the central bank said December 15.
Jonathan Stapleton asks whether newly-accredited professional trustees should be a statutory fixture on pension scheme boards.
Savers are being warned by the Insolvency Service to guard their pension pots from investment scammers and negligent trustees as it winds up 24 companies.
Respondents say they should only be required in certain situations as the system is not broken.