Argo IP targets Australian and Asian LPs with new MD hire – exclusive

QIC’s Melannie Pyzik will join Argo Infrastructure Partners this month in a new Sydney-based role with a remit to focus on local investor relations.

New York-headquartered Argo Infrastructure Partners is looking to forge new relationships with LPs from Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region with the appointment of QIC’s Melannie Pyzik as managing director.

Pyzik will be based in Sydney and will commence the newly-created role on February 11. The role’s specific remit is to lead investor solutions for AIP with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in Australia, Korea and Japan.

Pyzik joins AIP from QIC, where she was director, investment specialist – global infrastructure and helped lead fundraising for QIC’s Global Infrastructure Fund, which closed on its A$2.35 billion hard-cap in May 2017. Prior to her time with the Australian fund manager, she held roles with North Queensland Airports, Credit Suisse and Macquarie Capital.

AIP is set to begin its third series of fundraising imminently, Infrastructure Investor understands, but the firm declined to disclose specific timings or targets, other than to say that it needs to limit the number of new investors per series, as priority is reserved for existing investors from its previous two series.

AIP’s model sees it seeking to invest capital from each series within 12-18 months, the firm said, arguing that this and its operational structure gives it lower operating costs and “lower fee drag” for investors.

Pyzik’s role will allow Australian and Asian LPs to gain access to the US core infrastructure market through this fundraising, one which they have traditionally struggled to access, AIP said.

The hire of Pyzik takes the New York firm’s team to 16 globally, with one operative already based in Tokyo focused on Japanese institutional investors who will work closely with the new managing director.

“I am delighted to be joining a firm that has demonstrated how to combine innovation, while delivering exactly on the expectations of their investor partners,” Pyzik stated.

“I am aware of many investors who struggle to gain exposure to high-quality core infrastructure investments at a sensible and palatable/rational cost,” Pyzik continued. “AIP’s model is a solution to these basic investor needs, offering good asset exposure at a fair cost of access, a strong and specialist team and a proven track record in capital deployment and investor returns.”

As of Q4 2018, Argo Infrastructure Partners managed more than $2 billion of assets on behalf of five institutional investors, including California State Teachers Retirement System, across eight investments.

Its portfolio of core infrastructure assets includes power generation assets in Colorado, a regulated electricity transmission and distribution utility serving Pittsburgh, and two water utilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania acquired from KKR in 2017.

QIC declined to comment on any potential replacement for Pyzik’s role.