‘International enterprise, Australian flavour’: Cath Bowtell takes the reins at IFM Traders

Cath Bowtell has change into the chair of the $217 billion funding behemoth IFM Traders in a transfer that can put her on the chopping fringe of employee empowerment by way of funding.

Ms Bowtell had been serving as deputy chair of the group and has taken over the position after her predecessor Greg Combet moved on to go the Albanese authorities’s new Web Zero Financial system Company.

IFM is a novel beast, an funding fund owned by 15 business superannuation funds that has change into a worldwide big investor with eight workplaces throughout Asia and Europe and two in Australia.

Its possession construction implies that it cuts out the center man and isn’t paying income to personal traders. Slightly, it invests for fund members on a mutual possession mannequin serving to ship greater returns.

That appeals to Ms Bowtell, a one-time ACTU official, who mentioned: “I’ve spent my entire life working within the pursuits of working individuals. That’s been the factor that has outlined my profession and it’s been a rare privilege to be in positions the place I’ve been ready to do this.”

Funding umbrella

IFM works as an umbrella group, shopping for or taking stakes in main belongings, with possession of these belongings held by the 647 traders who desire a slice of the motion whereas IFM acts as funds supervisor.

That offers it lots of clout and permits IFM traders to get publicity to a a lot wider vary of belongings wherein they might hope to take a position on their very own.

“They’re in search of a fund supervisor that may deliver scale, experience, international attain and diversification,” Ms Bowtell mentioned.

For instance it has stakes in toll roads and ports within the US, vitality environment friendly co-generation family heating networks in Poland and water, vitality, fibre optics, air and sea port services throughout Europe.

In Australia, it owns large belongings in consortia with different funds, together with Sydney Airport and energy community Ausgrid.

IFM seeks out belongings and raises cash from its funding networks to purchase into offers. The 647 traders it companions with are primarily mutually owned pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and a few mutual insurance coverage firms.

Like minded traders

“They’re all aligned and like-minded. They’ve a long-term focus and are equally centered on guaranteeing that their beneficiaries [members] derive the advantage of the work that we do and the funding returns we generate on their behalf,” Ms Bowtell mentioned.

Cath Bowtell
Ms Bowtell would be the first girl to chair IFM.

Ms Bowtell, who has 20 years’ expertise within the business funds sector, is the primary girl to take the chair at IFM. “I feel that’s an vital change in re-inforcing the tradition now we have right here at IFM.”

She mentioned that tradition “is one which values variety of thought, variety of background and expertise”.

She would be the chair, not an government, and can depend on the workforce round her to implement group values and drive the enterprise.

“Greg [Combet] has left me with a really sturdy board and management workforce with [CEO] David Neal who is a good chief,” Ms Bowtell mentioned.

Interacting with what she says is the top quality management workforce at IFM is without doubt one of the benefits of her position. Not solely are the workforce competent {and professional}, “they’re completely dedicated to our purpose- investing for our purchasers”.

“They could possibly be investing for billionaires however they like the truth that our purchasers are strange working people,” she mentioned.

IFM is on a powerful upward trajectory, having greater than doubled its funds underneath administration since 2017, with lots of that development being offshore, significantly in infrastructure.

“Infrastructure might be the realm we’re greatest identified for and the one now we have grown internationally however we additionally spend money on debt, listed equities and personal fairness,” Ms Bowtell mentioned.

IFM Traders’ asset base is comprised of infrastructure ($100.9 billion), debt securities ($65.3 billion), equities ($43.7 billion) and personal fairness ($1.2 billion).

Infrastructure enterprise accounts for nearly half of IFM’s investments and is rising rapidly. To this point, simply over half the investments are in Australia, however Ms Bowtell expects that to alter as offshore investments proceed to develop as IFM more and more outgrows the native market.

Speaking about an evolution

“We’re evolving our working mannequin to place extra sources into our northern hemisphere workplaces and to have the capability … to take alternatives there.”

The tip results of that shall be a serious change in what IFM is.

“We’re evolving from an Australian enterprise that had a worldwide outreach to a worldwide enterprise that operates with an Australian flavour,” she mentioned.

IFM and its traders are taking the chance to be a part of the inexperienced revolution that’s now taking maintain throughout the vitality sector and elsewhere.

“It’s very clear to our funding groups that decarbonisation of economies is underneath means and there’s a nice demand for capital to help firms and governments with that,” Ms Bowtell mentioned.

That demand has the potential to permit income to circulation by way of to IFM’s house owners and traders.

“There are excellent alternatives for traders to deploy capital into the applied sciences and infrastructure that can drive that decarbonisation,” she mentioned.

The New Each day is owned by Business Tremendous Holdings. Cath Bowtell chairs The New Each day.


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