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Morrison & Co welcomes inaugural partners and prepares new fundraises

The firm, which has to date mainly operated in New Zealand and Australia, has appointed 14 partners spanning APAC, Europe and the US.

New Zealand-based Morrison & Co is accelerating its global expansion with a new partnership model seeing 14 partners appointed across APAC, Europe and the US.

The firm, which has to date primarily based its operations in New Zealand and Australia, and recently expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of a Singapore office, announced five of the 14 inaugural partners – all of whom are existing Morrison & Co executives, including recently-appointed chief executive Paul Newfield – would be based in New Zealand, with four based in Australia, two in the US, and one partner each appointed in Singapore, the UK and Switzerland.

New partner Nicole Walker, who heads up the firm’s global client activities and relocated from Sydney earlier this year to establish a regional office in Singapore, told Infrastructure Investor the partnership model was in line with the strategic shift the firm began two years ago towards a more global outlook.

“[This shift] has been reflected in the new products we’ve launched… [we’re] launching global products where a third or so [of the capital raised] will still always be invested in Australia and New Zealand as key home markets but now up to a third allocation will occur in Europe and the US as we actively build out those teams,” Walker said.

She noted the firm was likely to begin raising further capital for its global infrastructure fund, the open-ended Morrison & Co Infrastructure Partnership, before the end of the year. The vehicle, which was launched last year, reached a $3 billion first close in November.

Fundraising for the second vintage of the firm’s core-plus focused Morrison & Co Growth Infrastructure Fund was also likely to be a focus before the end of the year, she added. The firm launched the first iteration of the fund in 2018 and saw it reach a A$580 million ($404 million; €383 million) final close in 2020.

“In both the core and core-plus space, deployment pace has been strong… There are very clear pipelines for both of those products that are open for deployment,” she said.

“We’re a very diversified infrastructure manager, however we are quite disciplined when we go offshore and really stick to our strong sectors which are digital infrastructure, renewable energy, social infrastructure and, increasingly, our healthcare practice.

“That’s not to say we will never look [beyond these sectors] but as we grow internationally, we want to do it in a way that is credible and compelling to investors. We do try and stick to those key sector strengths particularly now that our funds are starting to become global funds, rather than Australia and New Zealand investment focused.”

In a statement announcing the firm’s new partnership model, Morrison & Co chair Rob Morrison said: “This is an important milestone and a material step in the firm’s progression from a successful Australasia-based manager to being a true global infrastructure investor.”

Newfield, who joined the firm in 2008 and took over chief executive duties at the beginning of this year, said in a statement: “The majority of those who entrust us with capital are ultra-long-term investors like sovereign wealth and super funds, so it’s important that we also have an intergenerational perspective.”

“We’re investing in building the diverse talent pool required to deliver stand-out investment performance on a global stage. The goal of this inaugural group of partners will be to build from our outstanding track record of the past three decades and to hand a bigger, better Morrison & Co to the next generation.”