Columbia Threadneedle Investments has hired a team to build an infrastructure investment capability for UK and European institutional clients such as pension funds.
The firm, which manages £346bn of assets, is expanding into the asset class as restrained public spending on infrastructure projects means increased investment opportunity for the private sector.
Heiko Schupp has been appointed as the newly-created global head of infrastructure investments. He has spent more than 20 years in investing in international infrastructure transactions and assets.
He joins from Hastings Fund Management where he was senior portfolio manager. Before that he held other senior roles in Pantheon Ventures, Bank of Scotland and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments chief executive officer Michelle Scrimgeour said: "The investment opportunity for the private sector is growing-public spending is constrained, yet governments around the world need to construct more assets to maintain their economic growth. It is estimated that in Europe alone, €2trn (£1.8trn) of investment in infrastructure is needed by 2020."
The G20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub has estimated $94trn of infrastructure spending is needed globally by 2040.
The firm has also hired Ash Kelso, Antonio Botija and Ingrid Weston to the team.
Kelso, who has been appointed head of asset management, has more than 15 years' investments experience and was previously director for energy, utilities and infrastructure at PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Botija joins as head of acquisitions from Hastings Fund Management where he was an investment director. Weston, who is now senior portfolio manager, previously worked for HSBC as a product specialist in infrastructure debt.
Scrimgeour said the expansion into infrastructure will complement its existing range of real assets and alternative investments, and allow it to enhance its offering to clients".
She added: "In an era of low interest rates, the long-term nature of infrastructure assets and their stable, inflation-linked income characteristics match the longevity and total return requirements of institutional investors' portfolios."
PTL has appointed Karein Davie as a client director in its Birmingham office.
The level of interest rate hedging increased to £29.5bn of liabilities in the second quarter as pension funds continued to de-risk, according to BMO Global Asset Management's research.
UK inflation has risen for the first time since November to 2.5% in July, up from 2.4% in June, thanks to rising fuel costs and the price of computer games.
The number of DB pension scheme trustees targeting a buyout with an insurer has increased significantly in the past five years, latest research from Willis Towers Watson shows.