South Korean financial media is reporting that the National Pension Service of Korea (NPS), whose approximately $675 billion in AUM (as of August 2020) make it South Korea’s largest institutional investor and one of the largest public pensions anywhere in the world, recently invested close to $500 million dollars in private market North American infrastructure assets.

A report on Friday from South Korea’s Maeil Business News cited unnamed industry sources in reporting that NPS recently invested $250 million in a fund managed by New York’s Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, which currently has more than $29 billion in client capital invested across North American energy, power, transportation, utilities, water and communications assets. NPS reportedly invested another $200 million in a fund offered by Australian-based alternative assets giant Macquarie.

Incoming President Joe Biden has proposed a $2 trillion program to accelerate U.S. investment in modern, sustainable infrastructure and clean energy initiatives nationwide, and has pledged to commit those resources during his firm term in office.

Highlights of the plan include pledges to create 1 million new American auto industry jobs, upgrade 4 million buildings and weatherize 2 million homes over four years, provide zero-emission public transportation options for every U.S. city with 100,000 or more residents, and make the entire U.S. power sector free of carbon pollution by 2035, and a promise to drive down costs and speed up commercialization of critical clean energy technologies such as battery storage, and next-generation energy sources like renewable hydrogen and advanced nuclear energy.

Recent NPS-Hines venture

Last month, NPS and privately held U.S. property investor-developer Hines announced a $1.5 billion global build-to-core real estate joint venture. The partnership will target urban infill developments across a broad range of sectors in multiple global markets, including mixed-use, residential, office and logistics.

The companies confirmed in a joint media statement that 20 percent of the venture is already committed to projects in North America and Asia-Pacific, and indicated that the partnership would pursue “long-term investments in proven locations, supported by innovation and new technology, [that] will capture sustained demand and create outsized value.”

“We believe there are significant opportunities to invest in the highest-quality, bulletproof assets that will provide long-term value to NPS stakeholders,” NPS Chief Investment Officer Hyo-Joon Ahn, said upon the deal being made public. “The current economic climate, shaped by global responses to the pandemic, has impacted all sectors of commercial real estate. This venture has committed to a long-term strategy capitalizing on the transformation of living environments, consumer behavior and space-use patterns combined with latest technology in real estate development.”

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