Pension funds and institutional investors as financiers of infrastructure investment

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1 ADB, The Earth Institute, Columbia University 7 th International Policy Advisory Group Meeting Asia s Growth and Development Challenges After the Global Financial Crisis Manila, 4 August 2015 Pension funds and institutional investors as financiers of infrastructure investment Georg Inderst Inderst advisory, London 1

2 Overview Today, a few figures and comments more in the paper: 1. Institutional investors: size and asset allocation 2. Asia in international comparison 3. Pension funds: barriers, risks, potential 4. Lessons for investors and policy makers 2

3 Private finance in infrastructure Source: PPIAF Public: private finance in infrastructure are roughly 1 : 2 in Western developed countries, and 2 : 1 in emerging markets (EMDEs) Private participation: % of GDP in EMDEs (PPIAF figures) East Asia / Pacific: % of GDP in East Asia/Pacific PPPs < US$ 10bn (Dealogic figures) South Asia: up and down with a peak in

4 Institutional investor assets Source: OECD (2014) Around US$ 100tn of assets are held by institutional investors about 10% of pension funds & insurance assets in emerging markets Asia: about US$ 4.4tn in pension funds, US$ 5.1tn with insurers some large social security and public pension reserve funds But most of the US$ 7tn SWFs are non OECD Huge infrastructure demands and hungry institutional funds link them (Lord Heseltine 2012) 4

5 New trends in asset allocation Pension asset allocation in the P7 Source: Towers Watson (2015) Investors try to diversify portfolios better regulation and liability driven strategies seek new sources of income in low interest rate environment rediscover long term investing and illiquidity premium Infrastructure as a new, alternative, real asset class in AUS since early 1990s, in EU/US since mid 2000s 5

6 Asset allocation to infrastructure Source: MSCI Global Asset Owner Survey (2013) Global pension funds hold 1 2% in unlisted infrastructure on average highest in Australia, Canada: 5 6% allocation (Inderst/Della Croce 2013) Driven by large funds smaller plans often little to nothing Conceptual issues, e.g. definition of infrastructure, risk/return profile Data situation is still poor better statistics would be a public good 6

7 Largest infrastructure investors Source: Preqin 7

8 Asian infrastructure investors By type of investor By country Source: Preqin Top 100 global investors: now 15 are Asian (up from 5 in 2012) 7 based in Korea, 3 India, 2 China, 2 Malaysia Top 100 Asian investors: US$ 65bn in infrastructure (i.e. 0.3% of assets) some SWFs now very active 8

9 Infrastructure investment vehicles old and new Source: Inderst (2013), Inderst and Stewart (2014) Traditionally, listed equities (utilities), bonds (corporate, municipal) often overlooked, but still the most important vehicles Now, many examples of different new debt instruments, public and private funds, trust structures etc.in EMDEs 9

10 Growth of infrastructure funds Unlisted infrastructure assets under management (global) Investor focus on regions Source: Preqin Global: about 400 infrastructure funds with US$ 300bn raised Asia: about 80 infrastructure funds with US$ 27bn in database deal volume p.a. of US$ 20 30bn, % of GDP (vs. 0.4% globally) Main focus is still on traditional developed markets less on Asia 10

11 Asia in international comparison Not a uniform picture, but some interesting features Relatively low private participation in infra investment but project finance and PPP sizeable, e.g., in India Major differences in credit and capital markets importance of (public & private) banks, development banks room for further development, e.g. project bonds, fund vehicles Concentrated investor asset base relatively weak private pensions systems widespread investment constraints overall little in infrastructure Foreign capital involvement varies to a lot across states Asia s attractiveness for international investors overall sub par Also big outflows of capital into OECD (real) assets 11

12 Barriers and risks for pension funds Source: OECD Investors often concerned about political risk, weak regulatory systems and legal enforcement, bureaucracy, governance standards, capital markets of low liquidity, currency risks in EMDEs Widespread qualitative & quantitative investment restrictions especially in EMDEs, also in Asia. 12

13 Lessons for investors Infrastructure assets are very heterogeneous sectors, location, greenfield / brownfield /secondary privatized, regulated, concessions, PPP ultimate funding (user charges or availability payments) Requires adequate size, resources and good governance Financial crisis revealed risks at all levels projects: excessive leverage, over optimistic demand projections funds: governance, conflicts of interests, fees investors: concentration risk, lack of understanding Valuations cycles: too much capital chasing too few assets Infrastructure investment is inherently political requires trust; Multilateral development banks be catalysts 13

14 New market developments Deeper scrutiny of projects and vehicles Broader investment universe new regional / country / sector funds open ended, cheaper, more transparent funds More direct investing A few pension funds pioneering in greenfield projects finding specific solutions for risk mitigation (market & public) More infrastructure debt investing direct loans, project bonds, sub national bonds Finding co investment models for small pension funds capital pooling platforms (with or without public support) Awareness of climate change and greener infrastructure 14

15 Some takeaways for policy makers Institutional investor potential: need to be realistic % of GDP in optimistic scenario would require adequate supply of assets & investment vehicles Major intermediation challenge most pension funds/insurers still prefer low risk assets Need good infrastructure institutions and consistent policies national and regional infrastructure plans retrospective changes of regulation are particularly harmful Strengthen (or build) private, long term savings institutions review investor regulation Mix of domestic (for local knowledge) and foreign investor base (for external discipline, international standards) 15

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