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Specialist in Asia Pacific, Japan, China, India and South East Asia and Global Emerging Market equities.

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Our philosophy is very simple. We are constantly searching for high quality businesses and when we acquire them, we will work relentlessly with them to create long-term sustainable value through innovation, ESG-led and proactive asset management.

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Stewart Investors manage investment portfolios on behalf of our clients over the long term and have held shares in some companies for over 20 years. They launched their first investment strategy in 1988.

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Global Listed Infrastructure

Global Listed Infrastructure

Infrastructure to shape our future

We invest in the companies our societies are built on. These are companies solving for the world’s long-term challenges such as urban congestion, digital mobility, and the energy transition. We are unapologetically active investors. We invest for future generations in mind, because a more sustainable world means better outcomes for our investors.

Why invest in the First Sentier Global Listed Infrastructure strategy?

  • Listed infrastructure provides essential services to society, making it less sensitive to the economic cycle. 

  • Growth is being driven by long term structural themes such as the build-out of renewable energy; the need to ease urban congestion; and increasing reliance on mobile data. 

  • Focus on environmental stewardship and social license to operate ensures long term, sustainable returns to shareholders.

  • Effecting change through ongoing engagement and dialogue with companies. 

How we invest in global listed infrastructure

Addressing net zero and the energy transition

Whilst longer term targets such as net zero 2050 are important, our immediate priority is to set medium term expectations and assess company performance against those measures.

We challenge management on where they expect to get to by 2025 and 2030.  We need to be forward looking and also identify the laggards who could be the leaders.

How do I use listed infrastructure in my portfolio?

Delve deeper into a global equities exposure

Based on our analysis, many global equity managers hold less than 2% of their portfolios in infrastructure assets – and these positions tend to be concentrated in the larger utility names. We have generated much of our alpha from growing mid cap stocks, such as toll roads, oil storage and gas utilities, which are often under-researched by global equity managers.

Infrastructure the world relies on

Over the past 15 years, global listed infrastructure has returned over 3% more than global equities on average with a lower level of volatility.*

These attractive risk-adjusted returns have been delivered by assets with high barriers to entry, strong pricing power, predictable cash flows and sustainable growth.

*Comparing MSCI World Index Net TR (USD) with the FTSE Global Core Infrastructure 50-50 Net TR Index (USD) from Dec 2005, and prior to that the Macquarie Global Infrastructure Index 100 Local TR (USD), over 15 years to 30 June 2020.

Adviser Resources

Flights delayed, recovery on schedule

Benefits of the rapid recovery of airport and toll road volumes far outweigh the operational issues they now face as a result.

The EV revolution to drive our energy future

The buildout of charging infrastructure needed to support EV demand, along with higher electricity “load”, will lead to significant investment opportunities for utilities.

On the road again: Infrastructure travel diary

We recently spent several weeks in the US visiting listed infrastructure management teams, regulators, politicians, industry associations and conducting asset tours.

Finding a port in a storm of rising prices

Rising inflation and interest rates are on everybody’s mind. A war in Europe and spiking oil prices are creating uncertainty.

When will Chinese travellers return to the air?

Along with business travel demand, the behaviour of Chinese tourists is expected to have a significant impact on the investment opportunity for airports globally as travel restrictions are lifted.

A pre-flight checklist for a post-pandemic world

As we return to the skies for that first face-to-face meeting, reuniting with family or taking that well-deserved holiday, the airports we pass through will be markedly different to what we knew before.

Cleaner and greener

This article looks at how US-listed railroads, electric and water utilities are reducing carbon emissions, improving safety and increasing customer satisfaction.

Questions your client might ask about investing in listed infrastructure

What is an infrastructure investment?

The main infrastructure asset types include transportation systems like rail, airports and toll roads; communication systems like mobile/cellphone towers; and water, gas and electricity utilities. These assets are essential to the day-to-day functioning of our society. They typically offer more stable returns than many other investment options. 

What are the risks of investing in infrastructure?

The key risks for infrastructure investors are political and regulatory intervention. These risks can be mitigated by diversification across countries, sectors and regulators, and by using an active manager who is able to understand and navigate those risks. Infrastructure investment funds may also be vulnerable to factors that particularly affect the infrastructure sector, for example natural disasters or operational disruption.

Is listed infrastructure an asset class?

In short, yes. While investors have embraced infrastructure as an asset class since the 1990s, the idea of investing in infrastructure via listed securities was developed by a few Australian asset managers between 2005 and 2007. Global listed infrastructure is now widely acknowledged as a standalone asset class by asset consultants, investors and the funds management industry. Today we estimate funds under management in global listed infrastructure to stand at around US$100 billion. It’s also worth remembering that infrastructure assets also have their own risk and return profile; and benefit from structural drivers that can be quite distinct from those of global equities. 

How should I be using infrastructure in my portfolio?

Use of listed infrastructure within investor portfolios has varied over time. Initially we saw it used as a defensive, low volatility equity. This expanded to see it used as a source of income, as declining bond yields increased the relative appeal of its growing divided streams. More recently, we have seen listed infrastructure form part of the real assets segment of investors’ portfolios, due to the nature of its long-life, hard assets and ability to offer insulation from the effects of inflation as well as offer structural earnings growth. We have also seen investors utilise global listed infrastructure as a diversified, liquid and lower fee alternative to unlisted infrastructure allocations.

When should I invest in infrastructure?

You should always seek professional advice if you are unsure about your investment options. Historically, infrastructure investments have generated stable, predictable cash flows and delivered long-term growth. As part of a balanced portfolio these types of investments have tended to be less volatile than other equity classes. Due to these factors, infrastructure can be used through the economic cycle at all times as a lower volatility complement to global equities.

I already get exposure to infrastructure through my global equity fund, why would I need to invest in an infrastructure fund?

You probably get a little bit of exposure - but not very much. We estimate that most global equity managers may invest between 2% and 4% (or less) of their portfolio in infrastructure assets. This exposure could be concentrated amongst a small number of large, well-known utility names. However, much of the alpha generated in our diversified portfolio has come from mid-cap stocks, which are under-researched by global equity managers, such as toll roads, energy storage and mobile towers. If you decide global listed infrastructure suits your investment needs, then an explicit allocation in your investment portfolio would be needed to gain a meaningful exposure to the asset class.

Isn’t infrastructure just a low growth, bond proxy investment?

No. Infrastructure assets offer defensive, non-cyclical growth opportunities from a variety of areas.   

These include: 

  • investment-driven earnings from the build-out of new transmission and distribution assets by electric, gas and water utilities 
  • clean renewable energy replacing carbon emitting, coal-fired electricity generation 
  • increasing equipment on mobile phone towers, to cope with growing data usage on smartphones 
  • rising traffic volumes on toll roads, as a result of urban congestion 

While global listed infrastructure is a relatively interest rate sensitive asset class, it also has long term structural growth attributes. 

Responsible Investment

Our corporate RI strategy is based upon three strategic pillars of quality, stewardship and engagement.

ESG issues are fundamental to infrastructure companies, given they have significant service obligations and moral accountability to the communities in which they operate.

ESG analysis is integrated into our investment process through our quality assessment and ranking model. This model consists of 25 criteria that influence stock returns in general and infrastructure securities in particular. A score is assigned to each criterion; a lower quality score makes it harder for a stock to be included within the overall portfolio. ESG criteria account for 20% of the overall quality score.

Learn more about the Global Listed Infrastructure team's approach to Responsible Investment

Meet the Investment team

Peter Meany

Head of Global Listed Infrastructure

Andrew Greenup

Deputy Head of Global Listed Infrastructure

Edmund Leung

Portfolio Manager

Rebecca Myatt

Portfolio Manager