JOB AND WEALTH CREATION
Blue Sky is focused on investing in private markets in Australia. From 2006 to 2016, we have invested in 44 companies where our investment has led to the creation of over 2,200 new jobs, supported the transition to higher value agriculture in Australia and built thousands of new homes.
We have also helped thousands of everyday Australian investors get access to private markets and generated returns of 16.4%1 per annum compounding (net of fees) over this time.
Investing in private markets allows us to take advantage of opportunities to create value inside private companies and projects that are not available in public markets. Investments in private markets tend to be long term, often held for at least three to five years, with a focus on building companies and projects. This emphasis on growth and productivity not only has the potential to generate higher returns for investors1, but also creates more jobs. Within private markets, we focus on investing in “the essentials” which we broadly think of as things people need not want. The reason for this focus is to try and ensure sustainable investment returns and value creation through economic cycles. We have demonstrated this through our track record of investments in healthcare, retirement, education, technology, housing, food and water.
A FORCE FOR GOOD
Alongside fighting to generate returns for our investors, create new jobs and stimulate the economy, Blue Sky people strive to have a positive impact on the lives of others and society as a whole. We promote innovation and entrepreneurship globally through our day-to-day business dealings and using our own time and effort. We leverage the resources and intellectual capital of the people in our business to support entrepreneurs working across a range of social and environmental projects to give them the opportunity to succeed, generate job growth, and support the communities in which we live and work. As well as Blue Sky’s donations to Bond University Indigenous Scholarships and a select group of charities directed by the Board, our employees use (or raise) their own money and their own time, so that we can help people be the best they can be.
Bond University Indigenous Scholarships
Since 2015 the Blue Sky Alternative Investments Indigenous Scholarship allows one or two Indigenous Australians who have demonstrated extracurricular involvement, leadership potential and academic achievements, to attend Bond University. We have contributed donations to the Indigenous Program, and in 2016 and 2017 we have mentored the Vice Chancellor’s Elite Scholar and provided internships for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Blue Sky employees have travelled to remote indigenous communities, such as Lockhart River, to use their expertise to help Indigenous communities get access to the best education and job opportunities, improve the diversity of our workforce and support sustainable economic growth.
Educating Indigenous Children With Yalari
Yalari is a not-for-profit organisation that offers quality, secondary education scholarships at leading Australian boarding schools for Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities. Blue Sky employees are members of the fundraising committee and have assisted scholarship winners transition into working life. By supporting Yalari we help outstanding Indigenous students get access to the best education and job opportunities, improving the diversity of our workforce to reflect our community.
Supporting Young Social Entrepreneurs
Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett started Orange Sky Laundry in 2014 to provide washing and drying facilities for the homeless and as a catalyst for positive and genuine conversations between everyday volunteers and everyday friends on the street. Blue Sky employees personally volunteer at the mobile washing vans and have assisted Nic and Lucas to promote their story to the broader community. By supporting Nic, Lucas and Orange Sky we have supported outstanding social entrepreneurs to help homeless people transition back into society and the workforce, thus promoting social and economic progress. In 2016, Nic and Lucas were named Young Australians of the Year.
Making A Difference to Seriously Ill Children
The Blue Sky team has made a difference to many seriously ill children and their families by supporting Starlight since 2012 through a wide range of fundraising activities. While health professionals focus on treating the illness, Starlight is there to lift the spirits of the child, giving them the opportunity to laugh, play and be a child again. Mark Sowerby (founder of Blue Sky) is on Starlight’s national Board and the broader Blue Sky team personally volunteer and assist in fundraising activities. 2017 will see an increase in program delivery and wish granting and the demand continues to grow. By supporting Starlight we are helping the broader community in which we live and work.
Unlocking The Potential Of Children And Youth
Since 2010, nine Blue Sky representatives have travelled to Uganda in collaboration with the Kain Foundation to assist local communities build housing and teaching facilities and provide clean food sources. Over the same period, we have donated or raised funds for the Kain Foundation to collectively address some of the major challenges that face children and youth in the areas of education and economic development. By supporting the Kain Foundation we unlock the potential of children and youth, and unlock our own compassion.
Tackling Food Insecurity, Homelessness and Food Wastage
In 2016 Lachie McMurdo, an Investment Director for Blue Sky Private Equity, participated at the CEO CookOff, where Chefs and CEOs create a three-course feast to feed vulnerable Aussies, raise funds and tackle the issues of food insecurity, homelessness and food wastage. OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia that collects quality excess food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 900 charities. By supporting OzHarvest we contribute to more sustainable food production and consumption.
Reducing Poverty in Brooklyn, New York City
The team in Blue Sky’s New York office support the entrepreneurial and committed team at Neighbors Together with their time and through fundraising. Fabian Roche, the Vice President of Blue Sky Private Equity, North America, is on the Board and we are helping to organize the annual gala. Neighbors Together is committed to ending hunger and poverty in Ocean Hill, Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant, three of the lowest-income areas in Brooklyn, New York City. By supporting Neighbors Together we contribute to social stability and sustainable economic growth.
HOW WE RUN OUR BUSINESS
As well as fighting for causes in our broader community, we run our own business and investments with the same regard to broader social goals. We help our people be the best they can be. We treat our investment partners and suppliers as true partners and strive to support them to achieve their goals. We believe there is an unambiguous and positive relationship between the creation and delivery of long-term shareholder value and high-quality corporate governance.
We are a team of investment managers with offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and New York. Our goal is to attract, retain and develop the highest performers that maintain high standards in their work for our business and in their personal lives. We do this by offering rapid promotion, creating a culture where work is integrated into our lives and by offering our team members every opportunity to take challenges, including through the Blue Sky Scholarships program.
Partners and Suppliers
We take a partnership approach with all our investee companies, partners, consultants and suppliers. We are in it together for the long term and have aligned our goals and incentives.
Corporate Governance and Risk Management
At Blue Sky we believe there is an unambiguous and positive relationship between the creation and delivery of long-term shareholder value and high-quality corporate governance. We are committed to corporate governance principles that foster the values of integrity, respect, trust and openness among and between board members, management, employees, customers and suppliers. As an ASX-listed funds management business which holds an Australian Financial Services Licence, we operate in a highly regulated environment. Our Internal Controls comply with AUASB GS007 guidelines, as determined by our auditors, Ernst and Young.
Our comprehensive Corporate Governance and Risk Management policies and procedures can be found in the following documents available on our website:
Our Invested Capital
Blue Sky invests in alternative assets, or private markets, directly and on behalf of our investors. Due to the illiquid nature of these assets, they tend to be long-term investments and are impacted by a range of environmental, social and corporate governance issues. Within alternative assets, we focus on investing in ‘the essentials’ which we broadly think of as things people need not want. The reason for this focus is to try and ensure that investor’s capital is preserved through all investment cycles, to generate sustainable returns and because we believe these investments align more closely our objectives with those of our investors, other stakeholders and society at large. We have demonstrated this through our track record of investments in housing, healthcare, retirement, education, technology, food and water.
1. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.