Gwenola Chambon, chief executive of Vauban Infrastructure Partners was invited to speak on a panel at the Infrastructure Investor Global Summit Online Virtual Experience 2020.
The panel, called “Infrastructure today, tomorrow and the next decade”, discussed the impressive growth of infrastructure investing since the GFC, as investors are increasingly attracted by the resilience of the asset class. Covid-19 had accelerated trends that were in place already, with digital technology the fastest-growing infrastructure sector.
The way assets are managed was also under the microscope during the session. As the asset class matures, managers are becoming more sophisticated: offering diversified solutions for investors; hiring specialists and working with specialist partners; and aligning all stakeholders (investors, contractors, operators and users). In short, value creation in infrastructure investing is starting to resemble value creation in the private equity sector.
Infrastructure managers’ ability to originate transactions, to optimize the capital structure of projects and to mitigate risks to ensure resilience are all critical today. A strong on-the-ground presence is also important to manage assets effectively and to engage with local communities.
“Successful infrastructure investing will in the future be dependent on the ability of the asset manager to understand and satisfy the needs of all stakeholders,” says Chambon. “Skill and profit motive alone are no longer sufficient. This shift in approach necessitates getting close to the asset, and to the clients and users.”
Chambon adds: “To keep delivering alpha, infrastructure providers must be cognisant of shifts in societal attitudes. To gain legitimacy, infrastructure must be beneficial, inclusive, adaptive to technological disruptions, and have a long-term outlook.”
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Vauban Infrastructure Partners
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