GI 50: Methodology

The criteria by which we assessed this year's Global Investor 50.


The ranking is based on the market value of investors’ private infrastructure investment portfolios both through third-party managed investment vehicles and direct investments.

This market value is measured at a single point in time for all investors to provide an ‘apples with apples’ comparison. For the 2021 ranking, this is 31 December 2020. This is a ranking of investors only. The ranking excludes funds of funds, infrastructure management firms and organisations that manage assets on behalf of third parties.

What counts?

The definition of infrastructure investment, for the purposes of this ranking, is investments in man-made facilities that enable any economy to operate.

This can be segmented further into three broad types: transportation (railways, roads and airports), utilities (energy generation and distribution, water and waste processing and telecommunications) and social infrastructure (schools, hospitals and state housing). Assets must be tangible and physical, whether existing (brownfield) or those in the development phase (greenfield) that are expected to exhibit stable, predictable cashflows over a long-term investment horizon.

For the purposes of this ranking, we distinguish between private equity energy and infrastructure energy and only consider the latter. Private equity energy includes investment into energy companies, investing in exploration and production (upstream) assets, and investments that tend to carry greater risk. Infrastructure energy includes investments in midstream and downstream assets (power generation) and renewable energy assets, such as oil and gas pipelines, oil terminals, wind farms and solar parks.

Where the investments are made in what may be termed the ‘grey area’ between infrastructure and private equity, we reserve the right to make the final judgment based on applicability according to our definition.

We understand that investors’ definition of infrastructure may not entirely mirror the definition given above. Hence, we use discretion to determine the most appropriate figure for each investor profiled.

Market value of infrastructure portfolio
The market value of the investment portfolio covers capital definitively invested in infrastructure either directly or indirectly. In the case of direct investments, it means equity invested in infrastructure assets. In the case of indirect investments, it means equity invested via a private infrastructure investment vehicle such as a separate account, joint venture or commingled fund operated with discretion by a third party.

The ranking includes

Capital committed or invested through the following strategies:
Funds (both open-end and closed-end)
Separately managed accounts
Co-investment deals
Joint ventures
Direct investments
Listed infrastructure

The ranking excludes

Expected commitments We do not count pending or future commitments and investments or the uncommitted portion of an institution’s target allocation.

Commitments to funds or investment in assets that do not meet the core criteria of providing exposure to stable, predictable, long-term cashflow streams and which are not in line with the definition of infrastructure provided above. For example, we do not count private equity-style energy investments.

Hedge fund We do not count hedge fund strategies as these primarily rely on indirect investments such as listed securities that may have exposure to infrastructure assets, not the assets themselves.

Debt We exclude all debt-focused vehicles and commitments, including mezzanine debt. Also, we do not count any lending originated directly by investors.

Private real estate Property used for commercial/business purposes such as offices, hotels, retail and industrial. Also, multifamily/apartment properties and portfolios of single-family houses assembled via an institutional platform.

Research process
Infrastructure Investor’s research and analytics team seeks to communicate directly by phone and email with investors to find out the market value of their infrastructure portfolios as previously described. In the absence of primary data, the team gathers data from secondary sources and seeks to validate the researched figure with the investors themselves before publishing the final list.