Schroders and Conservation International to accelerate investment in natural climate solutions

Schroders has announced a collaboration with Conservation International to accelerate investment in natural climate solutions in South East Asia. The collaboration has established Akaria Natural Capital as one of the first dedicated natural capital impact investment managers in Singapore, and will initially deploy capital towards a range of 15 to 20 high quality natural climate solutions projects across South East Asia over the first five years.

The announcement forms part of a wider focus for Schroders on natural capital investment. Last year Schroders announced a strategic partnership with Natural Capital Research (NCR), along with Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and in 2022 Schroders’ Australian Equities team launched a Biodiversity investment strategy which is currently available to institutional investors in Australia.

Peter Harrison, Group Chief Executive of Schroders, said: “Large scale investment is needed fast to halt and reverse nature loss. Nature-based solutions should be part of the solution to tackle climate change – and they can bring good returns. But the devil is in the detail. They must be high quality, and they must put local communities and the people who live there at the heart of any action.”

Australian Retirement Trust and QIC partnership to deliver social and affordable housing in Queensland

Australian Retirement Trust (ART), has partnered with QIC to finance new social and affordable housing supply in Queensland. Working in conjunction with community housing provider Brisbane Housing Company (BHC) up to 1,200 new homes will be delivered with construction to commence by 2025.

Australian Retirement Trust’s Head of Sustainable Investment, Nicole Bradford, said the deal is the super fund’s first social issue-focused investment since the merger between Sunsuper and QSuper earlier this year.

“Australian Retirement Trust is proud to be involved in such an important investment to help develop more social and affordable housing across Queensland,” said Bradford. “As one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, we’re committed to helping solve problems for our community and society, while not compromising on our fiduciary duty to our members, and this project is one example of that. “We believe this investment opportunity will support more affordable housing in Queensland, while also maximising the real, long-term investment returns for our more than two million members.”

Managing Director of QIC Real Estate, Michael O’Brien said: “This unique partnership between Australian Retirement Trust, the Queensland Government and QIC, together with Brisbane Housing Company, has created a significant opportunity for institutional investment into social and affordable housing in Queensland.”

MLC welcomes Government announcement into YFYS review

MLC Life Insurance welcomes the Government’s announcement of a Treasury review into the operation of the Your Future, Your Super (YFYS) Laws and strongly encourages Treasury to look at the impact of stapling on vulnerable people, especially women.

According to recent research by MLC Life Insurance, 60 per cent of superannuation fund members have never heard of stapling, potentially leaving them with inadequate or no life insurance protection when they change jobs.

Mark Puli, Chief Group Insurance Officer, MLC Life Insurance, said while the overall system of group insurance is delivering for Australians, reforms such as stapling need greater consideration for vulnerable people.

“The review of Your Future, Your Super is a positive development on many fronts, but the terms of the review must include insurance coverage. More than 70 per cent of Australians hold life insurance inside superannuation. In 2021 alone, 45,000 claims worth $3.7 billion were admitted for life and TPD, providing cover for members or their beneficiaries when they needed it. The overwhelming majority of Australians value this cover.

“However, as we move to a member-led, rather than employer-led system, the most vulnerable Australians will slip through the cracks.”

UniSuper and Australian Catholic Superannuation sign Successor Fund Transfer deed

UniSuper and Australian Catholic Superannuation (ACS) have now signed the Successor Fund Transfer (SFT) deed which will enable ACS members to become members of UniSuper upon completion of the merger, which anticipated to be finalised by the end of the year..

UniSuper CEO Peter Chun said: “We’re really pleased to progress the agreement with ACS. Our aligned values and member-first focus will help to ensure a smooth transition to UniSuper for ACS members. With all members set to benefit from increased scale, we can’t wait to welcome all ACS members and support them in creating futures worth retiring for that don’t cost the Earth.”

ACS CEO Greg Cantor said: “This next step is important for our members as we continue the journey to enabling them the best retirement outcomes possible.”