The Pipeline: GIP’s new hire, Aviva eyes Europe and CalSTRS keen on IFM model

GIP adds fundraiser, Aviva targets 'larger-scale' European market and CalSTRS wants to be more like IFM. Welcome to The Pipeline, the start-the-week briefing for our valued subscribers only.

First look

Noah boards the GIP ark
If you thought the Global Infrastructure Partners fundraising juggernaut wasn’t strong enough, it has just added to its New York base. Meet new managing director Noah Keys, formerly a principal at AlpInvest Partners, part of The Carlyle Group, where he worked within its energy and infrastructure division.

Keys will be responsible for capital raising and investor relation activities in North America, working under Annabel Wiscarson, GIP’s head of investor relations, based in London. Keys has previously held roles in UBS Investment Bank’s global energy group and at Barclays and Lehman Brothers, within their natural resources divisions.

While the IR landscape may have undergone a paradigm shift this year, Keys will be kept busy on the capital raising front, with GIP currently raising two debt funds targeting a total of $2.5 billion.

GIP declined to comment on the appointment.

Aviva gears up for European expansion
Change is afoot at Aviva Investors, with the UK insurer contacting investors in the summer to see if they wanted to hold a vote on making its open-ended, UK-focused Infrastructure Income Fund into a closed-end vehicle, according to London’s Hammersmith & Fulham Pension Fund.

Aviva declined to comment on why it is seeking this change, but the pension’s meeting last week shed some light.

“After personnel changes and general restructuring of their infrastructure team, they were quite honest in that they wanted to raise new products that were aimed more at a larger-scale, European infrastructure market, a bit more like you see with more established players in the market, like Macquarie, M&G and Partners Group,” Kevin Humpherson, senior manager at Deloitte, told the meeting. “What we liked about this Aviva product is it is relatively niche and UK. I suspect what they’re looking to do is put a cap on this fund and no longer market it and progress with the other areas of the infrastructure market they want to go and do.”

€4bn for CIP IV as it eyes renewables crown
Five months and €4 billion later, Copenhagen Infrastructure IV is now the world’s “largest dedicated greenfield renewables” fund, according to Danish manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, having already surpassed CIP III’s €3.5 billion final close.

Naturally, CIP partner Steen Lonberg Jorgensen is “very pleased” with how things are going, and sees the fund amassing between €5.5 billion (its target) and €7 billion (it’s hard-cap, presumably). Following that, it will become “the largest dedicated renewables fund globally” – no greenfields, no buts.

Like its predecessors, CIP IV will tread the familiar pastures of “contracted offshore wind, onshore wind, solar PV, transmission, storage, and waste-to-energy in low-risk OECD countries in Western Europe, North America, developed Asia and Australia”.

If you had any doubts about how resilient – and popular – the renewables sector is proving to be during the covid-19 crisis, CIP IV should put them to rest.


“We had signatories who just weren’t doing enough, and were very much there for the marketing. They were sort of riding on the brand and riding on what other signatories were doing”

UN PRI finally gets tough as chief executive Fiona Reynolds tells Reuters why five signatories had to be de-listed

Who’s hiring?

A boost for gender diversity
Infrastructure managers, particularly those in Europe, have continued hiring activity in Q3, according to executive search firm Sheffield Haworth. Nearly 80 percent of roles have been in investment and asset management in Q3, the firm said in its quarterly update, up from 62 percent over the same period last year.

Gender diversity has also received a boost, with twice as many women hired in investment roles compared to Q3 2019.

Recent examples include Margaux Harris, who has left BNP Paribas to join Allianz Global Investors as vice-president, infrastructure debt; Magda Rodrigues Martins, who left renewables group Voltalia to assume the role of asset manager, energy and infrastructure, EMEA at Aquila Capital; and Vivian Nicoli, who departed EISER Infrastructure Partners, which she helped found, to join CDPQ as head of European infrastructure.

Sheffield Haworth noted newer entrants into the asset class offering top dollar to attract talent from established players, so expect these trends to continue.

LP watch

CalSTRS wants ‘brilliant’ IFM model to counter ‘expensive Wall Street’
IFM Investors raised eyebrows in 2018 when it gave a 7.5 percent fee rebate to investors and challenged its rivals to match it, with then chief executive Brett Himbury outlining its ownership structure as a reason why it could make the gesture.

Chris Ailman, chief investment officer at California State Teachers’ Retirement System, certainly seems to have taken notice, telling the Sustainability Digital 2020 conference last week the IFM model was “brilliant”, as he pondered CalSTRS’ own internal investment capabilities.

“Rather than build out everybody’s infrastructure team, [the IFM model saw superfunds] team together and own an asset manager,” he said.

“I’ve been up to Toronto many times to talk to all the [pension] plans up there to figure out how we can bid together, rather than fight each other, on companies and projects. I think that’s going to be the future,” said Ailman, adding that “Wall Street is just far too expensive”.

He will hope building an ‘Americas IFM’ is a little quicker than building American infrastructure…


Omnes takes the plunge into social infra
While 2020’s games are still on hiatus, preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games are well underway, with French fund manager Omnes Capital awarded the 20-year concession to manage the Saint-Denis aquatics centre alongside consortium partners Bouygues and Récréa.

The €150 million design, build and operate project will involve Omnes’ Construction Energie Plus fund, which operates under its infrastructure umbrella and will help the centre to operate nearly 90 percent from renewables, Caroline Yametti, director at Omnes, told us. The project also contains some real estate-related risks, but Yametti is unfazed.

“For us, it doesn’t matter whether it is pure infrastructure or a combination of real estate and infrastructure assets,” she explained. “The type of contract, a 20-year concession, and the long term cashflows, make that investment an infrastructure project. It’s more about the type of contract and the cashflows rather than the type of asset.”

We explored issues just like this in our (gold-medalled) Deep Dive on social infrastructure, which can be found herehere and here.

Today’s letter was prepared by Zak BentleyBruno AlvesKalliope Gourntis and Daniel Kemp also contributed.

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