II 50: Meet the world’s largest infra investors

Macquarie takes the top spot of our newly expanded ranking for the seventh year in a row with Brookfield nipping at its heels. But it’s the concentration of wealth among the top five managers – which have raised $117bn of the total $282bn – that makes this year’s II 50 stand out.

Say hello to the Infrastructure Investor 50,  the seventh edition of our ranking of the world’s largest equity infrastructure investors. This year, we have decided to add 20 firms to what used to be the II 30 in recognition of something we have been writing about pretty much non-stop throughout the year: that infrastructure is attracting record amounts of capital as it continues its inexorable march to the mainstream of investing.

It seemed only fair, then, that we adjusted our ranking accordingly to measure how this influx of capital is benefitting not just the industry’s marquee names, but also its lesser-known participants. And granted, for a few years now the II 30 already gave you visibility on “the next 20” firms, so in a way the II 50 is just welcoming them into the fold.

So what do we find? Well, you now need $12.52 billion to make into the top five versus last year’s $8.43 billion, but the further you climb the II 50 the more top heavy it becomes. Last year’s fourth spot holder – ArcLight Capital Partners – had raised $9.59 billion; this year, Borealis is number four with $19.25 billion. That difference is drawn into even sharper relief when you take into account that the only firm that had raised over $20 billion in 2015 was our ranking leader: Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, with $28.85 billion.

MIRA again takes the top spot this year – its seventh consecutive number one – but this time its reign feels more fragile. With $32.83 billion raised, MIRA has Brookfield, which gathered $31.98 billion, nipping at its heels. Brookfield, incidentally, was number two last year, but with a considerably less $15.79 billion under its belt. The difference, as most of you know, comes from its $14 billion third fund, the largest unlisted infrastructure vehicle ever raised.

Global Infrastructure Partners is sitting at number three with $20.78 billion raised thus far, although, of course, that total is set to be considerably inflated once it closes its third fund at the end of October, potentially exceeding its $15 billion hard-cap.

But while managers near the top are taking in significantly larger amounts of capital compared with last year, things start to look pretty similar once you hit the top 10. For example, Ardian, which this year climbs one position, holds the 10th position with $6.11 billion raised – not a million miles away from the $5.78 billion raised by Colonial First State Global Asset Management, which sat at number 10 last year. And that picture holds very much until the bottom of the ranking.

If there is a lesson from this year’s II 50, then, it is that inequality has increased markedly. Click here to download the full report.