Ex-UBS director joins USS’ infra team

Universities Superannuation Scheme has hired Steve Deeley away from UBS to serve as investment manager for infrastructure at the UK pension fund. It has also promoted senior analyst Rob Horsnall to the same position.

Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the UK’s second-largest private sector pension, has beefed up its infrastructure team with one new hire and an internal promotion, USS announced in a statement today.

Steve Deeley, a former director in the infrastructure team at UBS Global Asset Management, has joined USS as an investment manager for infrastructure. Deeley spent four years at UBS, where he focused on regulated utilities, and was previously a part of consultancy Deloitte’s corporate finance team.

Joining Deeley as investment manager for infrastructure is Rob Horsnall, a senior analyst in USS’ private markets team promoted internally. Before he joined the UK pension in 2010, Horsnall worked for private equity outfit 3i Group.

Both will report to Gavin Merchant, who last year was named senior investment manager for infrastructure with a mandate to boost USS’ direct infrastructure investment capabilities, the pension said in a statement.

USS explained its “infrastructure strategy focuses on brownfield assets in core infrastructure sectors in developed markets, particularly in the UK”. The pension says it aims to be a significant minority investor and is willing to write equity cheques of between £200 million (€248 million; $325 million) and £400 million to buy stakes of  20 percent to 40 percent in the assets it invests in.

The pension recently tried to make its first investment in the UK regulated water sector, teaming up with Goldman Sachs and CVC Capital Partners to bid for the UK water assets of French group Veolia, but was ultimately beaten by a team of Morgan Stanley and Infracapital Partners.

USS ranked 22 on this year’s Infrastructure Investor 30, our proprietary ranking of the world’s 30 largest investors in the infrastructure asset class, having formed $3.8 billion in capital for investment in the asset class from January 1 2007 to April 30 2012.