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AustralianSuper picks Bentall Kennedy for Canadian RE

The Australian pension fund will make its first foray into Canadian real estate through the new separate account.

AustralianSuper, a Melbourne-based pension fund, has chosen Bentall Kennedy to manage its investments in Canadian real estate, the groups said Tuesday.

The Toronto-based real estate advisor received a mandate to pursue real estate investments across property types throughout the country. The separate account is AustralianSuper’s first investment in Canadian real estate.

Stephen McMahon, AustralianSuper’s head of external relations, told PERE: “Similar to our strategy in other developed markets as evidenced with recent investments in the King’s Cross Estate in London and Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, the investment strategy in Canada is focused on large scale central business district office properties, regional shopping centers and mixed-use development opportunities in Canada’s major urban centers.”

Bentall Kennedy will use a variety of investment structures, including full ownership and joint ventures to put the Australian pension fund’s money to work, McMahon said. AustralianSuper, which manages A$100 billion ($76.9 billion; €68.3 billion), has about A$10 billion in real estate investments, with about 38 percent of its portfolio invested globally.

Last year, AustralianSuper began investing in the US real estate market with a March 2015 purchase of a minority stake in Hawaii’s Ala Moana Center for A$1.1 billion. The fund has since done deals in cities including Washington DC and Boston, according to its website.

“The US will continue be an important investment market for AustralianSuper going forward, with close to A$2 billion invested into that market over the last 18 months,” McMahon said. “The expansion of our investment capability into Canada with the Bentall Kennedy relationship is a natural extension of the investment model we have successfully deployed in the US and other developed property markets.”

Bentall Kennedy manages about C$43 billion ($33.5 billion; €29.7 billion) of assets in real estate, according to Tuesday’s statement.

“We look forward to working with AustralianSuper in diverse contexts within this mandate, including joint venture partnerships with major Canadian pension funds, private asset owners and our many current Bentall Kennedy institutional clients,” said Paul Zemla, Bentall Kennedy’s Canadian chief investment officer.