Hastings: investors eager for continued interaction

The Melbourne-based infrastructure fund manager held an “Investor Day” event to give its investors a chance to meet the executives of the firm’s portfolio.

Last week, Melbourne-based Hastings Funds Management hosted its inaugural “Investor Day”, in which the firm’s institutional investors were given the chance to meet executives of its portfolio investments. At the end, the investors expressed both appreciation for the level of contact and a desire that it would continue, according to Colin Atkin, chief executive of Hastings-managed fund Utilities Trust of Australia.

The one-day event brought together about 50 institutional investors from all over Australia and six chief executives of Hastings’ global portfolio, including from the Freeport LNG project in the US, South-East Water in the UK, and several Australian airports from its UTA and The Infrastructure Fund (TIF) vehicles, according to a statement. The theme of the event was “Bringing the portfolio to life,” and, according to the firm, feedback from investors was quite positive.

“We already have connectivity with investors: we tell them what the portfolio is doing, the returns,” Atkin exclusively told Infrastructure Investor. “But they also insisted that the actual contact with the portfolio executives helped a lot.”

Going forward, Atkin said Hastings and UTA would continue to spend most of their time building long-term, sustainable relationships with both their portfolio and investors. Maintaining both relationships is particularly important for infrastructure investing, because the investors themselves have a strong interest in the underlying assets, he added.

Some firms take the view that it's better to keep investors and the portfolio separate. But Atkin said the merit of his firm's approach is that it forges stronger relationships on both sides.

“The way we view it is we have a long-term partnership with the investors, and this gives them a chance to see what their money really does, as well as give the CEOs a chance to see where their money is coming from,” he said. “And that builds the partnership to be much stronger.”

For an investment strategy in infrastructure with control positions, Atkin believes this kind of partnership is crucial: all investors want to be closer to their assets. The universal attitude of investors after the Investor Day was “We want to know more and stay informed,” he said.

Hastings is currently gearing up for another fundraising round for UTA, Infrastructure Investor reported previously. The fund’s current capital is now about 80 percent deployed, and UTA is expected to target existing investors first before pitching the fund to new investors.