IFM rebrands, selects Japan head

The A$48bn Melbourne-based fund manager has renamed itself just prior to opening a new Tokyo office next year.

The A$48 billion (€34 billion; $46 billion) Melbourne-based fund manager formerly known as Industry Funds Management has renamed itself IFM Investors, just as it has selected Eddy Schipper to head the Japan office it hopes to open early next year.

The investment manager was founded 20 years ago as Industry Funds Management, and remains wholly owned by 30 Australian superannuation funds. The rebranding will not impact or change IFM Investors’ investment strategy, which remains heavily focused on infrastructure and infrastructure debt.

“The inclusion of ‘Investors’ in our name represents both who we are and recognises the importance of our investors,” Brett Himbury, the firm’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Industry Funds Management is an important part of our legacy, and is the genesis for ‘IFM’. We will continue to draw from this strength and heritage.”

Alongside this rebranding, IFM is also making a major push into overseas markets. It opened an office in Berlin this year and enhanced capacity on the ground in the UK and US.

It has also just announced that Schipper, currently IFM’s executive director for business development, will relocate to Japan once the Tokyo office opens in Q1 of next year, where he would work to add Japanese institutions to IFM’s investor base. With Schipper’s transfer, 25 percent of IFM staff are now based overseas, according to the statement.

“Our investors are increasingly seeking investment opportunities in Asia, and Tokyo provides a strong hub for accessing both Japan and the broader region,” Himbury said. IFM chose Tokyo as its Asia destination of choice primarily because of the institutional investor base already there, Himbury explained to Infrastructure Investor.

“This is a long-term commitment for IFM,” Himbury said. “Initially, we will focus on our global infrastructure debt assets and then look to broaden this over time.”

Himbury concluded: “Our investment strategy stays the same [under our new name]. We continue to prioritise outcomes for investors by growing our investment capability, investing in key internal functions and improving service delivery capabilities. We remain focused on being a trusted institutional investment manager, assisting our investors to access global markets and delivering strong results.”