The world’s 50 largest institutional investors allocated a total of $508.3 billion to the asset class, this year’s GI 50 ranking reveals, underscoring the broader trends witnessed in the infrastructure investment industry throughout 2021, chiefly that the asset class is attracting increasing amounts of capital.

There haven’t been any significant upsets compared with last year but there are points worth highlighting, beginning with the number of new entrants, which this year was the highest we’ve seen. In addition, of the nine new LPs, five of them were US-based. That led us to ask a number of placement agents whether this was indicative of US investors embracing the asset class.

“US pension funds have just started hitting their targeted allocations that they set years earlier,” FIRSTavenue partner and head of distribution for the Americas Derek Dietrich tells Infrastructure Investor.

“The risk-adjusted return profile of infrastructure in a rising rate environment is an attractive complement to [US pensions’] PE-weighted portfolios,” says Dietrich, adding that the increased diversification of offerings – whether by sector, geography or risk profile – as well as the passage of Biden’s infrastructure bill, “will only increase US investor participation in infrastructure moving forward”.

Guillermo Marroquin, a partner and head of North American real assets at Campbell Lutyens, paints a similar picture of the US LP landscape, with infrastructure portfolios being relatively young but “as the asset class has continued to perform, especially through covid, we have seen an increase in target allocations and new LP entrants to infrastructure establishing new allocations”.

One of the new entrants is the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, which landed at number 50, setting a new barrier to entry at $1.92 billion. Notably, this minimum infra allocation was $130 million lower than last year’s $2.05 billion.

That is the only reversal this year’s ranking reveals. All other trends are holding steady: North American LPs continue to lead, with 42 percent of capital allocated to the asset class, though whatever ground they gained compared with the previous year is at the expense of European LPs. Also unchanged, is that the top 10 LPs are responsible for half of the total infrastructure capital being allocated to infrastructure.