HESTA has committed $30 million — the largest single commitment to the local impact investment market made by an Australian superannuation fund — to create a dedicated fund managed by Social Ventures Australia (SVA).
HESTA, the $32 billion industry fund for the health and community services sector, aims, through the fund, to build a pipeline of investments that can deliver both financial returns and measurable social impact.
Robert Fowler, HESTA’s Chief Investment Officer, said the partnership with SVA combined the innovative thinking within HESTA’s investment team with the depth of experience SVA brings in impact investing.
“We share a strong commitment to growing the impact investing market in Australia and consider the relationship with SVA a significant milestone in building this market, to convert words into meaningful action,” Mr Fowler said.
“HESTA has a specific focus on impact investments in the health and community services sectors, which represent the core of our membership base, and allows us to leverage our organisation’s extensive knowledge of the sector.”
SVA and HESTA have designed a dedicated fund, the Social Impact Investment Trust, to allow HESTA to make direct and indirect investments in a range of businesses, housing projects and social impact bonds that deliver both financial returns and identifiable and quantifiable social impact.
SVA’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Koczkar said HESTA’s support of impact investing would encourage other large investors.
“With more than $2 trillion managed by superannuation funds in Australia, we hope to see more institutional investors realise that they can make investments that can both earn a financial return and make a positive social impact,’” Mr Koczkar said.
Mr Koczkar said SVA was looking at investment opportunities that would address disadvantage and improve employment, education, housing and health outcomes.
“SVA is actively seeking similar partnerships with other investors, with the aim of raising $100 million in funds under management over the next 12 months,” he said.
For more on what this means for impact investing in Australia see the SVA Quarterly article Implications of new growth phase in Australian impact investing.