Wardlaw will focus on capital raising efforts, building on his role as head of infrastructure at Campbell Lutyens between 2011 and 2019. Wardlaw became vice chairman of infrastructure at the group last year, with Gordon Bajnai taking up the reins as infrastructure lead.
He will report to Federated Hermes’ global head of infrastructure, Hamish de Run, who returned to the firm last November following the departure of Peter Hofbauer, and who described Wardlaw as “an obvious hire”.
“We were keen to bring in a seasoned professional who has been a renowned infrastructure client solutions expert,” de Run told Infrastructure Investor. “We have a solid platform from which to grow and James can really help our business go into the next phase.”
Hermes, which was acquired by the US-based Federated Investment Management in April 2018, remains in market with its Hermes Infrastructure Fund II, launched in 2016 with a target of £1 billion ($1.3 billion; €1.1 billion). De Run confirmed the fund’s volume remains at £288 million, the amount that had been raised before his reappointment last year, all of which has been deployed into four assets, including Danish ferry operator Scandlines and an 813MW wind portfolio in Sweden.
“The fund is open until summer 2021. James and I will sit down and make an assessment on where we go with it,” de Run said. “We believe there is some client appetite out there and we will work on that in the new year. There is attraction for LPs to asset-seeded vehicles.”
De Run added that the firm might seek to leverage on its parent company’s US base where “infrastructure is a hot topic”. Hermes has typically been focused on the UK and Europe, holding assets such Southern Water in the UK and Eurostar. De Run said that while there has been obvious disruption to the performance of Eurostar, the remainder of the portfolio has performed well during the pandemic.
“Our strategy has been a little more conservative than our peers in the core space and I think our returns have been reasonably shielded from covid,” he said.
Wardlaw is the second major arrival at Hermes this year following the hiring of Luke Bugeja from OMERS Infrastructure as an operating partner focused on transport assets. The group is also looking to hire for a similar position in the energy transition space, de Run said.