Fiera hires IFM director to launch US expansion – exclusive

The move came after the Canadian fund manager partnered with EllisDon Capital in a deal that included the purchase of large equity stakes in 10 projects under construction.

Fiera Infrastructure is to assemble an investment team of about four people in New York this year as it plans to expand its activities in the US.

Alina Osorio, Fiera’s president, said the Toronto-based fund manager had hired Brooks Kaufman, who was previously an investment director at Australian firm IFM Investors, to head the new office. Osorio told Infrastructure Investor that the US team’s focus, like that of its London office, would be “consistent and work parallel with our investment strategy”.

“We’re a mid-market investor in infrastructure,” said Osorio. “But what’s quite unique for the mid-market is that we have a global approach to investing in this asset class. So, we think it’s very important to actually have boots on the ground, and we’ve found with our experience in London that it does make a difference.”

Fiera manages around C$1.6 billion ($1.6 billion; €1.06 billion) of assets and commitments. It typically invests in deals requiring less than C$200 million of equity. The firm has already invested in renewables projects in the US, including the 28MW Alta Luna solar farm in New Mexico, the 300MW Balko wind farm in Oklahoma and the Clark Canyon Hydroelectric Facility in Montana.

According to Osorio, the draw of greater exposure to the US includes opportunities in the telecommunications, transportation and utilities sectors: “It’s an important market for us, and it’s one that continues to evolve and develop on the private capital side, so it’s a market we want to be part of and invest in.”

The firm was founded in March 2016 after parent Fiera Capital merged with Toronto-based Aquila Infrastructure Management.

In January, Fiera agreed to a development partnership with Canadian construction services company EllisDon Capital. The deal included the purchase by Fiera of large equity stakes in 10 social, healthcare and transport projects across Canada that EllisDon is constructing. Osorio said at the time the partnership would focus mostly on Canadian projects but also on some US opportunities.