JPMorgan Asset Management has launched a new Infrastructure Investments Group, recruiting Canada Pension Plan Investment Board veteran Mark Weisdorf to head the new division as its global chief investment officer.
Weisdorf had previously served as the vice president of private market investments for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, where he managed the pension’s real estate, private equity and infrastructure investment strategies. During Weisdorf’s tenure, CPPIB was among the largest providers of capital to private equity funds.
In the press release announcing the formation of the new group, JPMorgan cited that the new arm was established to provide its institutional investors access to an “emerging” asset class that expects to generate “stable and predictable cash returns that grow in relation to inflation over the long term”.
The new group will target areas such as transportation, water and energy.
Infrastructure, as an asset class, has gained traction in recent years. Incumbent groups such as Sydney-based Macquarie have already booked significant returns in the space, which is traditionally considered a lower risk asset class thanks to the monopoly-like characteristics that define the sector and its protection against inflation.
Investments in assets such as airports, hospitals, utilities and roads are the traditional bets made by the investors in infrastructure, and groups such as ABN Amro are among those that have recently made strides in the sector.
Others on Wall Street, such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and others have also been reported to be eyeing an entrance into the asset class.