The Infrastructure Fund (TIF) is understood to have shortlisted three bids from fund managers vying to take over from the now defunct Hastings Funds Management.
Several sources familiar with the AUD 2.4bn (USD 1.9bn fund) said Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), StepStone and Palisade Partners are among those now in the final round.
StepStone is seen as an unusual choice as it isn’t known for being a GP. However, it does help funds assess and make direct investments as well as assisting them to replace their manager.
TIF is understood to have approached several other GPs, including IFM Investors, HRL Morrison and QIC, to bid to externally manage its assets after the investors in TIF decided in August 2017 to dump Hastings after 17 years under its management.
Since then Bob Lette, chairman of Gardior, TIF’s trustee, has led a review into whether to seek a new external manager or internalise management.
There is understood to have been some disagreement between the trustee – which is owned by various, mainly Queensland based, super funds including SunSuper, BUSS(Q) and Energy Super – and other TIF investors, with Gardior favouring internal managers.
But it appears preferences have shifted towards having a new external manager.
There is also thought to be a split between Australian investors and some offshore investors in its assets from Japan and Korea on whether TIF should continue investing, with the offshore investors favouring growth while Australians would like it to just manage existing assets.
A decision on an external manager is expected by the end of April.
TIF’s investments include: Sydney Desalination Plant, Port of Newcastle, New South Wales Land and Property Information Service, ElectraNet and Porterbrook in the UK.
The Infrastructure Fund, MIRA, StepStone and Palisade declined to comment.