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It’s hard to overstate how important the energy transition has been to the environment. But it’s also critical to the global economy.
Stephen PanizzaHead of Renewable Energy at Federation Asset Management
Could you give us an overview of your current role and responsibilities?
I’m the co-founder and Head of Renewable Energy at Federation Asset Management, an alternative asset manager in Sydney, Australia. We got started a little over four years ago, and my role is primarily to look after Federation’s energy transition strategy.
How did you get started in alternatives? And what brought you to your current role?
I joined Macquarie in 2006 to establish a buy side, debt capital market (DCM) business in Asia. In 2007, the pace of investment slowed as a result of the global financial crisis, and so we put together a lot of debt advisory and restructuring work. Then, when the market settled down in 2008, we saw value in a hybrid position – eventually migrating to principal investing across the capital structure.
When I left Asia, I had developed a keen interest in renewable energy, so I moved to a role at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation – the world’s largest green bank. I was the Chief Investment Risk Officer at the bank for a couple of years, but I always had an ambition to establish my own firm. Eventually, I got together with a couple of ex-colleagues from Macquarie and another connection to establish Federation Asset Management.
What makes renewable energy such an invaluable alternative asset?
It’s hard to overstate how important the energy transition has been to the environment. But it’s also critical to the global economy. If we don’t move towards sustainable energy in the next decade, we will cause irreparable damage to the environment, and the global economy will surely face the consequences. So, in terms of infrastructure or investing in general – I can’t think of a more valuable asset.
How does Preqin help you to achieve your goals?
While we can all have a reasonable understanding of global capital flows, nobody can be an expert in every market around the world. So, when I want to raise capital and deploy that capital into renewables in Australia – I really need to understand the relative risk return profile of that asset compared to others across the globe.
Preqin delivers great value as it enables a transitional comparison of risk and return for alternative assets. Because we’re based in Australia – far away from some of our colleagues and competitors – it helps us to stay informed and excited about the global capital markets. Having actual data rather than opinions or intuition helps our business enormously.
What advice do you have for someone starting a career in alternatives?
My first piece of advice is don't expect your career to be linear. You would be very, very fortunate to happen upon the perfect career in your first job out of university or college. You also have to be flexible. You should try lots of roles in different areas, and through that engagement you’ll find what you really want to do.
It took me until I was 55 years old to find my place in renewables. Tackling broader challenges – rather than purely financial ones – is amazingly rewarding.
Federation invests in businesses and assets that meet social and economic needs. Federation’s purpose is to protect and grow clients’ capital in a sustainable and responsible way. Federation is a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and ratified by the equivalent Australasian body.