AMP Capital hires COO for European infra business

Simon Ellis is joining the Australian fund manager from ING Infrastructure Funds, where he served as chief investment officer. His hire comes as AMP builds out its team in the wake of four London-based executives’ departure in September 2010.

Australian infrastructure fund manager AMP Capital has hired a new chief operating officer for its European business, which is rebuilding after last year’s departure of four senior executives.

Simon Ellis will take over the post on March 14, AMP said in a statement. He will be based in London and will report to AMP Capital head of Europe Boe Pahari.

Ellis will focus on operational issues such as risk management, independent asset valuations, debt management and fund reporting, AMP said. However, he will also work with AMP’s 11-strong infrastructure investment team to originate and manage assets.

Ellis’ hire comes as AMP is rebuilding its team in the wake of several senior departures in its London office. In September last year, Rob Gregor, Geoff Neil, Michael Cowell and Steven Lowry left AMP to head up an infrastructure fund at Balfour Beatty, the big UK infrastructure developer.

The loss came just a month after AMP hired four executives from Australian alternative asset manager Access Capital Advisers. Tom Majewski, Damien McDonald, Digby Beaumont and Farhad Billimoria joined the firm in New York, where they head up AMP’s investment activities on behalf of its institutional clients.

Prior to joining AMP, Ellis was chief investment officer at ING Infrastructure Funds, based in London. Prior to that he led the infrastructure debt arranging and underwriting activities at WestLB, according to a biography provided by AMP.

AMP Capital, the private investment arm of Australian wealth manager and insurer AMP Limited, is a long-standing investor in the infrastructure asset class. In Europe, the firm owns stakes in several high-profile assets, including UK water provider Thames Water, utility Wales and West and rail rolling stock lessor Angel Trains.