Blue Owl’s Latest Australian Expansion Move: Hiring Future Fund’s Deputy CIO

Alicia Gregory is joining the investment manager amid its growth in the region.


Illustration by II

To continue bolstering its presence in Australia, Blue Owl Capital has tapped one of the country’s top investors to serve as a managing director.

The $165 billion investment firm has tapped Alicia Gregory, the deputy chief investment officer for Australia’s $250 billion Future Fund, for the role. She is the firm’s first senior hire in Australia.

This new hire, announced Wednesday, is part of Blue Owl’s push into the region and its overall fundraising ambitions. The firm plans to continue building out a team in Australia across all levels moving forward.

“The Australian superannuation market is at the cutting edge of sophistication,” said James Clarke, Blue Owl’s head of institutional business development and client service, in a statement. “Every asset owner has specific needs and preferences which require the highest caliber of professional talent.”

The news comes at a pivotal moment in the superannuation fund industry. Driven by new regulations, Australian funds are rapidly consolidating. Australian pension funds have long been leaders in global private market allocations but this consolidation means that they can write larger checks to major managers like Blue Owl. On the flip side, a shorter list of LPs to pitch to makes entry into the Australian market somewhat simpler for managers.

According to a recent report from JPMorgan on the future of superannuation, some of the largest funds (those with more than AUD$100 billion) are “using this scale to increase their offshore investment across a range of asset classes and set up global offices to explore new opportunities.”

And Blue Owl — which invests across three strategies: credit, GP stakes (called GP Strategic Capital by the firm), and real estate— has an interesting value proposition for investors in the area. The firm’s largest presence is in the United States but it sees opportunity in Australia and its executives, including Clarke and managing director Marc Pillemer, have ties to the region. Both attended university in Australia.

Australia’s Financial Review reported in August that the two visited the country and had signaled plans to set up shop — and that a Goldman Sachs alumnus, Sydney-based John Wilson, had been brought on as a senior adviser. According to a source familiar with the matter, over the past year and a half, Blue Owl’s institutional team has made a trip to Australia every two months to foster relationships in the region.

In a November interview with Institutional Investor about fundraising in the Middle East, Clarke also said that Australia is a growth region. “These aren’t declining defined benefit models,” he said. “Australia is a great representative. Aussie Super, Aware Super, HESTA, these are big organizations. Our goal is to grow alongside them.”

That’s not to say, he added, that the firm doesn’t also have a commitment to smaller institutions. That will be key for the firm, as family offices are the fastest-growing segment of Australia-based private capital investors. Since 2019, the proportion of these family offices has grown from seven percent to 36 percent in Preqin’s database, the research firm said in a recent report.

Gregory, for her part, is an experienced investor. She joined the Future Fund, in 2019, as its head of private equity. She was named deputy CIO in 2021. In 2023, Gregory added to her deputy CIO duties by joining the board of Tilt Renewables, the largest owner of wind and solar power generation in Australia.

“Alicia has a comprehensive set of investment skills and insights that not only demonstrate Blue Owl’s commitment to Australia, but most importantly, our vision for creating true partnerships with these marquee investors,” Clarke said in a statement Wednesday.

Prior to working for Future Fund, Gregory spent 17 years at MLC, a superannuation fund that has since been sold. She has also served as a board member at the Institutional Limited Partners Association and is the chairperson for the Australian Investment Council, a private capital industry group.

“I’ve had the privilege of watching Blue Owl’s substantial growth over the past few years with the firm solidifying their reputation as a leading provider of investment management services to some of the largest asset owners around the world,” Gregory said in a statement. “I am excited to finally join this fantastic firm and further build our institutional partnerships in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific market.”