North America-Based Infrastructure Investors – January 2015

by Evan Barker

  • 22 Jan 2015
  • INF

Preqin’s Infrastructure Online service currently tracks 938 active North America-based investors in the infrastructure asset class, representing 43% of all active investors in infrastructure globally. Out of this investor pool, the US accounts for the largest proportion (85%) followed by Canada (14%), with the Bahamas making up the remaining 1%. These 938 investors collectively have $105tn allocated to infrastructure and have an average current allocation of 6.8% to the asset class.

As demonstrated in the chart above, the most prominent type of North America-based investor in the infrastructure asset class is public pension funds (20%), followed by private sector pension funds (18%), with endowment plans and foundations both constituting 16%. This is followed by insurance companies and wealth managers, each accounting for 6%. Finally, family offices and asset managers represent 5% and 3% of these institutions respectively. 

In terms of the regional preferences of these investors, 43% favour North American infrastructure investments. Twenty percent of North America-based investors will seek opportunities in Europe, while 13% will look at opportunities in Asia and countries outside of these three regions. In addition, 24% of North America-based investors are open to investments on a global basis. This data reveals the openness to geographic diversification that is widespread among infrastructure investors.

In the infrastructure space, the main route to market for North America-based investors is through unlisted vehicles, with 91% of these institutions targeting infrastructure investments via this route. This compares to the 19% which will utilize listed infrastructure vehicles and the 17% which will invest directly in infrastructure. Primary strategies are used by the vast majority (95%) of these institutions, with debt/mezzanine investments sought by 13% and funds of funds targeted by 12% of investors. Secondary vehicles remain a small part of the infrastructure market, with this route to market targeted by just 3% of North America-based investors.

Many North America-based investors are seeking to make further investments in the infrastructure asset class in the next 12 months, with Preqin’s Infrastructure Online service featuring detailed profiles for 147 such institutions planning to make new commitments. One investor considering its maiden commitment to the asset class is San Francisco -based First Republic Bank, which is likely to target unlisted funds as its primary route to market and will seek to invest in North America-focused energy funds. Another such investor is Toronto-based private sector pension fund, Toronto Transit Commission Pension Society, which has a preference for unlisted infrastructure funds focusing on operational assets in OECD countries.

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