AMP Capital ramps up tech expertise with former Apple ops director

As a senior advisor, Thomas Preising will provide insight in a sector the Australian fund manager sees as having ‘fundamentally changed the infrastructure landscape’.

Sydney-based AMP Capital has expanded its existing team of 15 senior advisors with the appointment of Thomas Preising, who until recently served as global business operations director at Apple.

AMP Capital said it had appointed Preising as part of its efforts “to harness infotech to streamline and enhance the operations of its global infrastructure assets”.

It added that Preising, who will be based in Delhi and advise the fund manager on a part-time basis, will report to David Rees, AMP Capital’s global head of asset management but will also be working regularly with Boe Pahari, its global head of infrastructure equity.

Asked whether his base of operations was an indication of the firm’s geographic focus when it comes to the technology sector, Preising replied: “India is a tremendously important global market from an investment perspective and it is at the epicentre of technology advancement and integration for the global economy. Presently, Indian companies are leading in e-payment technologies, AI analytics application, IoT solutions and many other new areas.”

He added that he would be working with asset managers on identifying specific companies and processes across AMP Capital’s existing assets that needed to improve: “This improvement could come through new process innovation, new systems or, in due course, new technology. We plan to share best practice in this area across the portfolio, implementing solutions that can be used in multiple companies. We are doing a thorough audit of companies’ technology, systems and data practices to ensure we have transparency around these areas, to bring value and acceleration in each of them.”

Communications infrastructure is one of four key sectors AMP Capital focuses on. According to Pahari: “The growth of technology in our lives has fundamentally changed the infrastructure landscape and this is reflected in our investments in towers, broadband and, looking forward, data centres.”

Although the fund manager has not yet invested in data centres, it has invested in assets such as Towercom, Ireland’s largest wireless telecoms tower portfolio; and enet, the country’s largest wholesale-only carrier. Both investments were made through AMP Capital’s Irish Infrastructure Fund.

More recently, in March 2018, AMP Capital acquired its first US fibre-optic internet developer, investing more than $200 million in equity to acquire Ohio-based Everstream Solutions. The firm did not disclose financial details nor whether it had invested through a fund.

Four months later, it partnered with Canadian pension CDPQ, providing $500 million in financing to Tillman Infrastructure, a cellular tower and telecoms infrastructure company headquartered in New York. AMP Capital provided its portion of the financing through AMP Capital Infrastructure Debt Fund III, which closed in August 2017 on its $2.5 billion hard-cap.