An Analysis of US and Canadian Infrastructure Investors

by Elliot Bradbrook

  • 13 Dec 2011
  • INF

Preqin is currently tracking 407 institutional investors based in either the US or Canada that actively invest in the infrastructure asset class. Infrastructure investment is a strategy pursued by a number of different investor types in the region. Public pension funds are the most prominent type of investor, representing 35% of the total, followed by endowment plans (16%), private sector pension plans (12%) and foundations (10%).

83% of active North American infrastructure investors are based in the US. The vast majority of these investors (88%) invest in third-party unlisted funds in order to gain exposure to infrastructure assets, while just 15% invest directly. In terms of geographic preference, 78% of US-based investors look to invest in domestic US infrastructure projects and 56% seek international exposure. This shows that US institutions tend to be relatively inexperienced infrastructure investors that are likely to target projects close to home, rather than looking abroad for less familiar investment opportunities.

The remaining 17% of North American infrastructure investors are based in Canada; however, in contrast to the US, the Canadian infrastructure investor universe is more experienced. Although 76% of Canadian investors still look to make unlisted fund commitments, a significant 47% will consider direct investment in infrastructure assets. In terms of regional focus, 81% of Canadian investors target North American assets, while 65% invest internationally. This suggests that Canadian institutions are more established in the sector, and tend to seek a more diversified portfolio.

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