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Tēnā koe,

In April we welcomed our new CEO, Jo Townsend. Jo is a highly-experienced CEO with a 30-year career in the Australian investment sector, most recently as CEO of Funds SA. We also welcomed a new Board chair, long-serving Board member John Williamson who has recently taken on the role of Board Chair, and a new Board Member, Hinerangi Raumati-Tu’ua. We expect another two appointments to our Board this year: replacements for outgoing Chair Catherine Drayton and for Doug Pearce, who will complete eight years on the Board in September.

Our CIO Stephen Gilmore has taken on the role of CIO at CalPERS, the largest pension plan in the United States – and while we’ll miss him, we congratulate Stephen on this excellent career opportunity.

Jo Townsend, CEO


John Williamson, Board Chair


Hinerangi Raumati-Tu'ua, Board Member


NZ Super Fund now worth over $74 billion

The NZ Super Fund has benefited from strong financial markets in recent months and in March hit a record high of $74.12 billion. 

Over the 12 months to 31 March the Fund has returned 16.99%. Over the past 20 years, the Fund has returned 10.01% p.a., compared to 8.50% p.a. for our passive Reference Portfolio benchmark and a 3.45% p.a. Treasury Bill return.

For more information on Fund performance, see our website:

NZ Super Fund performance

Economic outlook

The start of 2024 has seen the global economy slow, though less than expected. Inflation has remained stubbornly above central bank targets and the number of central bank interest rate cuts priced by markets for 2024 has declined significantly since October last year. There has been growing regional differentiation in economic growth – the United States has been the standout, whereas New Zealand, Eurozone, UK, and Canadian growth has been much weaker. Looking ahead, the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook forecasts global growth through 2024 and 2025 of 3.2% - the same as for 2023 - with some acceleration possible in advanced economies. Market participants believe that steady growth, consumer strength, a decline in volatility, and the on-going belief in the power of AI technology will continue to buoy equity markets over 2024. Market risks seem lower than this time last year when most commentators were predicting global recession. The implications of geopolitical risks – Russia/Ukraine, Middle East, and US/China tensions – are higher than a year ago, but don’t seem to be retarding market confidence and momentum at this time.

The Fund’s long horizon means we don’t try to predict short-term market fluctuations when allocating capital. Steady global growth, as projected over the next couple of years, will support positive performance. Should there be a market stress event, we will use our tilting and tactical credit strategies to take advantage of the volatility.

Insights on the total portfolio approach

Our Head of Asset Allocation Charles Hyde contributed his insights on competition for capital to a new research paper published by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association:

Innovation Unleashed: The Rise of Total Portfolio Approach

Charles identified three key fundamentals of this investment strategy:

  • Evaluate each new investment against the entire investable universe.
  • Allow for nimbleness and shorter-term investment opportunities.
  • If the new investment skews the portfolio factor weights, adjust the portfolio by selling an investment or implementing an overlay.

Briefing to the Incoming Minister

Our Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Finance has been published on our website. It covers everything from how we invest to the roles of the Minister and the Board, and provides a summary of current priorities for the Guardians and Fund.

Briefing to the Incoming Minister

Beachlands rezoning a major step forward for our infrastructure investment

We welcome the Independent Panel's approval of the private plan change for the proposed community development south of Beachlands in Auckland. The NZ Super Fund, alongside Russell Property Group and partners, Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki, and Hāpai, have been working on a plan to enable the development of residential housing, associated infrastructure and amenities around the waterfront site currently occupied by the Formosa Golf Course.

Taranaki Offshore Partnership progress continues

We are continuing to progress the Taranaki Offshore Partnership. This joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and NZ Super Fund aims to assess and, if feasible, pursue the development of offshore wind energy generation in New Zealand. 

In 2023 the project team deployed a Floating Light Detecting and Ranging device (FLiDAR), which is now collecting information on the velocity and consistency of the wind flow in our preferred area for development. While we have limited data to date, that data is encouraging.

Building community understanding of and support for the project continues to be very much to the fore of our activities. Our local information hub in Hāwera serves as a meeting point for the community in Taranaki to learn about the project. We received numerous positive comments from visitors to our stand at the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in New Plymouth, and were pleased to take part in the recent Offshore Energy Conference hosted by Ara Ake at TSB Hub Hāwera.

The government’s proposed Fast-track Approvals Bill has received considerable publicity; however, as it stands, offshore energy projects would be ineligible to apply for referral. We continue to work with MBIE and others on the development of a permitting and consenting regime for offshore energy projects.

Portfolio investment update

Over the past few months we’ve added some new investments to our portfolio:

  • We committed to invest up to US$125m in Ara Fund III, including co-investment. Ara Partners is an American private equity firm specialising in industrial decarbonisation investments. It invests in the industrial and manufacturing; chemicals and materials; energy efficiency and green fuels; and food and agriculture sectors.
  • We committed to invest up to US$150m in timber assets in the United States via Domain Timber Advisors. Domain’s timberland strategy focuses on the sourcing of non-industrial, degraded or under-utilised timberland. The company has a long history of success in managing such tracts and achieving both economic and environmental uplift through property improvements and the ultimate aggregation of the acquisitions.
  • Our limited partnership with developer Classic Group broke ground on three residential developments, at Matamata, Feilding, and Queenstown. These three projects, along with a fourth proposed for Warkworth, will deliver 2,500 homes.
  • We invested NZ$395m in Florin Court Capital Fund. Florin Court is a quantitative hedge fund manager specialising in alternative products. We see the investment, alongside a Trend-following mandate we have given to external manager Man AHL, as a useful way of mitigating tail risk in the Fund’s portfolio (tail risk is the risk of outsize losses due to rare events).
  • We committed to invest up to US$145m in AJ Capital Partners Field & Stream Hotel Fund I. This fund focuses on aggregating, repositioning and rebranding limited service hotels in the USA. 
  • We committed to invest up to US $20m in a co-investment vehicle established by StepStone VC to invest into Tract alongside Columbia Capital. Tract is in the business of purchasing, holding, and zoning land on which hyperscale data centres will be developed.
  • We committed US$75 million to Sands Capital’s Life Sciences Pulse Fund III. Sands’ fund focuses on growth equity investing in innovative life sciences businesses.

Sian Orr among best speakers at [i3] Property Forum

Congratulations to our Portfolio Manager, External Investments and Partnerships Sian Orr on being named one of the top three speakers at the recent 5th annual [i3] Property Forum! Sian’s panel discussion focused on our real estate strategy, its fit within our total portfolio approach and how we are positioning our real estate portfolio for the next economic cycle, given forward-looking views on interest rates, inflation and bond yields. She also touched on structural shifts we are seeing in the real estate space and certain sub-sectors we expect to remain resilient.

Welcome to our first-ever graduate cohort

In March we welcomed our first-ever Graduate Programme cohort. We couldn't be happier to welcome such an impressive group of people. 

The cohort started in March as Graduate Analysts in their home teams. In January 2025, they will embark on a 6-month rotation, gaining experience in a different team within the investment portfolio, before returning to their home team and transitioning from their Graduate role to an Analyst.

Harry Chadwick - Direct Investments, Lucchio Doddington - Strategic Tilting, Poppy Cox - External Investments and Partnerships, Alana Chhour - Portfolio Design, Josephine Situ - NZ Equities, and Tama Morris - Data Analytics

SuperCharged revamp wins Gold Quill

Our refreshed intranet has received an Award of Merit in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)’s Gold Quill Awards internal communications category. The Gold Quill Awards honour the dedication, innovation and passion of communicators on a global scale with a focus on achieving solid business outcomes. We also received an Award of Excellence from the IABC Asia Pacific Region Silver Quill Awards.

The refreshed intranet, launched in October 2023, was co-designed with input from users across the Guardians. Congratulations to the project team and everyone who contributed to this great result!