The funds manager owned by industry superannuation funds, Industry Funds Management, will open its second offshore office next week.

The office in New York, USA, will be opened following more than 50 per cent growth in funds under management in 2007, according to IFM chief executive Damien Moloney. The move reflects IFM’s plan to expand its $1.5 billion presence in infrastructure investment in the US, including more deals with its most recent investment partner, Allco Finance Group (in December the pair purchased a $1.5 billion portfolio of US power generators). Moloney confirmed discussions were continuing with Allco but said he “can’t say much” given the disclosure rules for Allco as a listed entity. Moloney said the New York opening would aid the expansion of IFM’s private equity team, which makes investment decisions independently of the infrastructure team. IFM’s private equity portfolio has $1.4 billion of a total $3.2 billion invested offshore. Building a greater brand profile and attracting quality staff and investment opportunities was also high on the list of reasons to establish the US office, Moloney said. Dunia Wright, IFM’s head of US and Europe, will be based in New York. Although Wright has been with IFM since 1998, her current position was created six months ago as the overseas business grew. She has managed the London office, which opened in July 2006, for the last six months. Joining her full-time will be Monte Tarbox, a US citizen who until now has been contracting for IFM on investment opportunites. Moloney said he hopes to increase the team with a mix of Australian transfers and US hires to have eight on the ground in New York by July. IFM’s recruitment efforts across its entire business, including its Australian and London offices, will see it fill out to 90 personnel by mid-year if all goes according to plan, Moloney said. This would be double its December 2006 headcount of 45 staff. Moloney said the recruitment was largely because of a rapid increase in funds under management. “The business is growing quite dramatically. Back then [December 2006] we had about $10 billion in funds under management. That’s now grown 50 per cent. We were also a bit understaffed,” he said. The domestic recruitment was mostly finished and the focus was now on filling out the offshore capabilities, he said. IFM manages $14.6 billion for industry superannuation funds.

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