Frontier Investment Consulting has responded to the increasing number of infrastructure co-investment deals coming before its clients, and a spike in demand for the asset class generally, by launching a specialist infrastructure consulting service.

The service will be headed up by Chris Trevillyan, a senior consultant who has spent the last two of his four years at Frontier in charge of infrastructure research. Through large industry fund clients like AustralianSuper, HESTA and Cbus, Trevillyan said Frontier had been “involved with infrastructure exposures for over a decade but had not until now provided advice on the specific deals”.

Available to both existing clients and would-be infrastructure investors as a stand-alone service, Trevillyan said that the service would incorporate sector reviews of infrastructure in a holistic portfolio context, manager research and monitoring, and for the first time, transaction and co-investment advice.

“The service is not trying to replicate a typical financial advisory service,” Trevillyan said. “Frontier will provide an independent, third party ‘honest broker’ role, with a focus on structuring around issues like investor rights and fees, total portfolio considerations using our knowledge of other asset classes, and a broad assessment of deals.”

So that deals were not assessed purely through a financial filter, Trevillyan said Frontier had begun hiring consultants from a wider variety of backgrounds. For example, Sarkis Tepeli joined last September from WorleyParsons, where he had been an engineer/consultant in the firm’s ‘Oil Gas Customer Sector Group’, servicing the Longford Terminal station for major client Esso.

An analyst who will start this month has a background in water engineering. Trevillyan said such atypical experience among some consultants was already leading to a better understanding of infrastructure deals, for example the ongoing maintenance requirements of potential power generation investments.

Other backgrounds among the seven current staff of the infrastructure group include project management and actuarial, which Trevillyan claimed made Frontier unique in understanding infrastructure in a holistic portfolio context. Trevillyan said the infrastructure group would be open to remuneration partly in the form of performance fees, a concept which Frontier generally has begun to introduce to some clients following negotiation. “There are just some issues you have to deal with…from a client’s perspective [if there was a performance fee] we obviously couldn’t play any part in the valuation.”

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