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."
Johnson Controls International has appointed XPS Pensions as investment and actuarial adviser for two of its schemes, following a competitive tender process.
Merseyside Pension Fund has allocated an initial £400m of assets to a smart sustainability fund managed by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA).
This week's top stories included exclusive coverage of The Pensions Regulator's plans to require schemes to use professional trustees.
Buck has launched a solution to help pension schemes equalise guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) in a cost effective way with minimum hassle.