Listed infrastructure managers have had a more difficult time than their private equity counterparts convincing plan sponsors their strategies are worth a commitment. While listed infrastructure has a lot to offer, many investors are still learning about the strategy and seem to want more information about performance expectations and how the market is defined before committing capital.
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A growing number of institutional investors — including most notably U.S. public pension plan investors — want infrastructure assets in their portfolios. This demand appears likely to grow further. Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson) estimated that in 2008 the top 10 managers in infrastructure alone managed $72 billion on behalf of pension funds, up from $43 billion in 2007.
The power and energy industry kicked off 2010 in New Orleans at the Projects & Money conference sponsored by Infocast Jan. 11–13. The meeting was billed as a “deal-working event,” and after a year as bad as 2009, most attendees were certain deal flow can only get better in the year ahead.
Michael Barben is a partner, head of the private infrastructure team and chairman of the private infrastructure investment committee of Partners Group, headquartered in Zug, Switzerland. Previously, he was responsible for European buyout and special situations partnership selection, as well as for building the firm’s U.S.-based manager selection team, and subsequently was appointed global head of the alternative strategies manager selection team. Institutional Real Estate, Inc. senior editor, Sheila Hopkins, spoke to him about accessing the infrastructure space.