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Sustainable fixed income: Our acquisition of Altius

Another step in the journey to build our capability and influence across asset classes.
Published 23 May 2024   |   3 min read

Australian Ethical’s agreement to acquire Altius Asset Management, helps us grow our size and capability to invest more for a better world while improving financial outcomes for our customers.

Altius is a leading sustainable fixed income investor and our agreement to acquire them will add significant expertise to our team as we continue our mission to invest for a better world for people, planet and animals.

Upon completion, the proposed deal will add circa $2 billion of funds under management to the $10-plus billion we already invest. This continues our trajectory of growth and improvement, following the acquisition of Christan Super by our superannuation subsidiary in 2022, and the subsequent transition to new super administrator, Grow, which is currently under way.

We want to grow and improve so we can be better at directing more capital to the areas we believe do good, as well as have more influence with companies we think could do better.

For those who don’t know a lot about Altius or Australian Unity, you can find out more about them via our official announcement.

In addition to getting larger, we’re also bringing together a team of seven experienced people, including Altius founders Bill Bovingdon, Chris Dickman and Gavin Goodhand, who are widely regarded as leaders of sustainable fixed income investors in Australia.

The Altius team will join our existing fixed income and broader investment team, which continues to be strengthened so we can offer depth and expertise across all asset classes.  

While we are growing and adding capabilities, nothing has changed about our commitment to invest ethically in line with our Ethical Charter while optimising investment returns. In fact, we believe this deal makes our dual purpose commitment even stronger.

We continue to be guided by our Ethical Charter to take environmental and social issues into account in every case. Our Charter steers us away from investing in activities, like weapons manufacture and tobacco production as well as high carbon emitting fossil fuels, but also towards companies and areas with activities we believe have a net positive for people, planet and animals. We’ve been doing this since 1986.

Fixed income is an asset class that not only carries significant importance for the diversification of investors’ portfolios, but it is also an increasingly important area of for funding our sustainable future.

Our recent partnership with specialist boutique fund manager Infradebt is an example of how we are finding ways to bring capital to areas in need of funding for a better future, at the same time as helping to bring stability and certainty to investor portfolios. Our infrastructure debt fund provides capital for the development of battery technology essential to the renewable energy transition, for instance, while delivering safe and consistent returns 2-3% above the RBA’s cash rate, which is 6-7% in the current environment.  

Our acquisition of Altius deepens our expertise in important funding sources for a more sustainable future, including green bonds, social bonds, and sustainability bonds, which are used to finance or refinance assets such as renewable energy projects and loans, in areas such as education, public housing and public transport or other activities aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

With the additional size and expertise we believe we’re better able to deliver on our promise of investing for a better world while maximising financial returns for our customers.

Australian Ethical acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the country on which we work, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and recognise and celebrate their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and thank them for protecting Country since time immemorial.

See our Reconciliation Action Plan