(September 5, 2013) – The Australian Future Fund’s Mark Burgess has handed his notice in after two years at the A$89 billion fund.
Burgess, managing director and president of
Australia’s Future Fund Management Agency, told the board of his intention to
leave the organisation on September 3.
The agency is responsible for the investment
strategy and implementation of the Future Fund, a sovereign wealth fund
designed to help meet the government's future liabilities for the payment of
superannuation to retired civil servants.
Burgess will remain in his role for the
foreseeable future to help “smooth the transition” to a new leadership,
according to a statement from the fund.
Under Burgess’s tenure, the fund grew from A$75
billion to more than A$89 billion. The Future Fund also manages assets
totalling A$11.4 billion from three other government funds, taking total funds
under management to more than A$100 billion.
Burgess expressed his desire to return to the private sector in his
resignation letter, though where he will be going is still a mystery.
The chairman of the Future Fund Board of
Guardians David Gonski gave thanks to Burgess for his guidance and support
during his time at the fund.
“Mark has played an important role in leading the
Agency through its next stage of development and in the implementation of a
number of important initiatives,” he said.
“I respect Mark’s decision to return to the
private sector at this time and we look forward to announcing a replacement to
his position as the Fund enters the next phase of its development.”
The Future Fund’s asset growth and the strategies
used have grabbed the headlines in recent months: the fund reportedly spent
A$875 million on a 30% stake in Australia’s Perth airport earlier this year, a
price that came in 43% higher than an independent valuation made in June last
“If you are a long-term investor, infrastructure provides long-term, stable,
inflation-related income flows that are valuable. A lot of assets are providing
just that,” CIO David Neal told the Australian Financial Review.
“We think in general the prices being paid
reflect the cash flows we expect to receive.”
The Future Fund also owns a 17% stake in London’s
Burgess isn’t the only public servant to step
down in favour of a role in the private sector in recent weeks. Tim Walsh, the former investment head of New
Jersey’s $74 billion pension fund, stepped down last month after taking a job
at Chinese real estate firm Gaw Capital.
Related Content: “No Infrastructure Bubble,” Says Aus Future Fund
and When Infrastructure Investments Sour