IFM restructures Australian infra investment team – exclusive

Directors Michael Thompson, Quentin Law and David Stegehuis have all left after the fund manager took a dim view on future dealflow in the Australian infrastructure market, particularly in energy generation.

IFM Investors has restructured its Australian infrastructure investment team and in February made the positions of three directors redundant.

Infrastructure Investor understands that the redundancies reflect a view within the fund manager that the Australian infrastructure market will not see large-scale privatisations in the near term following high levels of activity in recent years. The restructuring also reflects a shift in IFM’s Australian portfolio away from energy generation.

Infrastructure Investor also understands that executive directors Quentin Law and Michael Thompson, and investment director David Stegehuis have left the infrastructure team. All three were based in the firm’s Melbourne office.

Law is still employed by IFM and has taken on a role as an executive director with the Melbourne-based fund manager’s private equity team as the company looks to bulk up its capability in that space. The firm this year has also hired Adrian Kerley, the former head of private capital at Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, as an executive director in the team.

Thompson had been with IFM since 2008 and previously worked in the company’s New York office. He had been involved in energy and infrastructure M&A with PwC before joining the fund manager.

Stegehuis joined IFM in 2014 from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. His focus was on the energy sector and his remit included the origination and execution of infrastructure investments.

It is not known where Stegehuis and Thompson are moving to. Neither could be reached for comment.

The firm has turned away from power generation in Australia. In April 2018 it sold its last assets in that sector when it divested its 100 percent stake in gas-fired power station operator EcogenEnergy.

Michael Hanna, IFM’s head of infrastructure in Australia, told The Australian that Australia is “one of the most volatile countries for energy policy anywhere that we invest around the world” and that this had led to increased uncertainty for investors.

IFM still holds an interest in the Australian power sector through its investment in Ausgrid. The fund manager acquired a 50.4 percent stake in the New South Wales electricity distributor, alongside AustralianSuper, in 2016.

IFM Investors declined to comment for this story.