Exclusive: UBS in triple infra hire ahead of new funds

The firm has added two new directors to the equity team as well as its first infra appointment to the strategy and research division.

UBS Asset Management has bolstered its infrastructure offering with three staff appointments as it prepares for the launch of new debt and equity funds.

The firm has hired Thibault Contat Desfontaines and Borja de Luis de Blas as directors to its infrastructure equity team, based in London and Madrid respectively and reporting to Bronte Somes, UBS’s head of infrastructure equity in Europe. The pair will be tasked with the origination, analysis and execution of deals across Europe, as well managing existing assets.

Desfontaines has joined from investment bank Nomura, where he had worked since 2013 as vice-president in the EMEA M&A team. During the three years prior to that, Desfontaines was a senior associate in Morgan Stanley’s power, utilities, infrastructure and renewables M&A department.

De Blas will have a special focus on Iberia for UBS, which will follow on from his five-year tenure at Globavia, the Spanish transport investor owned by USS, OPTrust and PGGM, where he was responsible for the acquisition of new opportunities as well as the disposal of non-core assets.

UBS has also secured its first infrastructure hire in its strategy and research division. The firm has poached Declan O’Brien as a senior analyst from Legal & General, where he spent two years as an infrastructure strategist, following a six-year spell as assistant vice-president in Moody’s project and infrastructure finance division.

“These appointments enhance both the wealth of experience and the reach of our team as we continue to develop and grow [UBS’s] infrastructure platform,” said Tommaso Albanese, head of infrastructure at the firm’s real estate and private markets group. “With a strong pipeline of infrastructure equity projects identified and planned upcoming launches for new debt and equity capability offerings, it’s the ideal time to deepen our resources.”

UBS earlier this year combined its real estate, infrastructure and private equity businesses to form a unit with $90 billion under management. Its second infrastructure equity fund recently made its fifth investment, joining GE and the GIP-owned Competitive Power Ventures as a 10.8 percent owner in a 785MW power plant in the US.