AUSTRALIA - The Australian government plans to have "targeted" conversations with superannuation funds to encourage investments in local infrastructure.
Speaking to the Financial Services Council last week, Bill Shorten, the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation said the superannuation industry's A$1.2trn ($1.2trn) in assets allows super funds to become big players in the infrastructure market.
He said: "Superannuation can do what it likes, and should not be forced into government-friendly projects. It has a free hand.
But the Government is interested in stimulating a targeted conversation between the superannuation industry and government and private sector players who are looking to develop infrastructure assets. We should see whether there are expectation gaps or other impediments which might be addressed."
Shorten, who became Minister in September, also addressed a controversial tax on mining companies that would be used to partly offset the cost of increasing the superannuation guarantee.
Shorten said: "We looked as well at the Minerals Rent Resource Tax, and if what we're doing will stifle, or hobble, or impede, or inconvenience, the mining sector. We found it wouldn't.
We looked at the facts. And we found, on the contrary, that a boom is imminent in that sector. And all we are doing, as a country, is taking full advantage of that boom. The way good capitalists do."
A number of pension schemes have been prompted to lock in gains with a move into bonds after the estimated deficit across FTSE 100 DB pension schemes improved by £36bn, over the 12 months ending 30 June last year, JLT Employment Benefits found.
HM Treasury has agreed in principle to give NEST a £329m contingent liability guarantee in the event of the master trust's wind up or closure.
AMP Capital has set up a dedicated team to help institutional investors, including pension funds, invest in infrastructure through direct equity allocations.