“That hasn’t changed, in fact if anything investors are looking for more stable income sources post-crisis in many cases than beforehand so infrastructure should be well positioned.” Due to its reliance on bricks-andmortar assets rather than the vagaries of financial markets, infrastructure tends to sit in the ‘defensive’ portion of pension portfolios. Most infrastructure assets, such as utilities, transportation and energy, have legal or economic market monopolies, or quasi-monopolies, meaning their returns are not subject to competitive market forces. According to Eidelson, the yields also tend to be higher than you might find in the broader equity markets. Infrastructure assets certainly offer some bond-like characteristics, including stable income and cash flow streams, but the listed sector bears higher correlation to equities than unlisted infrastructure.
The S&P Global Infrastructure Index, which provides liquid and tradable exposure to 75 companies globally that represent the listed infrastructure universe, took a battering in 2008, returning -38.98 per cent in the 12 months to the end of December. Like most asset classes, the index has since recovered ground, posting a 13.29 per cent return year-to-date. “These are long-duration assets in terms of cash flow stability that would provide some bond-like characteristics, but thay are assets traded on equity markets so there would be more equitylike characteristics than you’d find in a fixed interest portfolio,” Eidelson says.