Australian fund manager QIC has launched a new private credit strategy, initially focusing on infrastructure.
The firm has appointed Andrew Jones as head of private debt to lead the push from its Sydney office. Jones, who was previously global head of infrastructure debt at AMP Capital, will commence his new role on 1 February.
QIC said the strategy was the first new real asset capability it had brought to market since introducing infrastructure in 2006.
Jones’ initial focus will be to build a team to develop the firm’s infrastructure debt offering. He will report to QIC chief executive Damien Frawley.
QIC declined to comment on what type of infrastructure debt strategy it would pursue initially and whether it would take the form of a pooled fund, separately managed accounts or a combination of the two.
In a statement, Frawley said: “We believe private debt is a structural solution for today’s institutional investors seeking access to a defensive income stream with a strong yield in this ‘lower for even longer’ environment.
“Offering private debt capabilities will act as a source of financial stimulus for the real asset sector – such as infrastructure and real estate – and corporates that are looking to rebuild in a post-covid world.”
Frawley said Jones had one of the market’s “strongest abilities” to attract global capital into infrastructure debt mandates.
During his 20 years at AMP Capital, Jones built a team from inception to make it into one of the world’s largest infrastructure debt investors. He left the firm in July amid a leadership reshuffle and was succeeded by Patrick Trears, who until that time was head of infrastructure debt in the US.
The firm secured $4 billion for AMP Capital Infrastructure Debt Fund IV in 2019, alongside an additional $1 billion in co-investment rights and another $1.2 billion from investors in separately managed accounts.
AMP Capital said at the time that it believed it was the largest fundraise on record for an infrastructure mezzanine debt strategy, surpassing the total raised for IDF III, which closed on its $2.5 billion hard-cap in August 2017. Fund IV also garnered significant co-investment commitments to bring its total deployable capital to $4.1 billion.
QIC has been active in infrastructure equity since closing its Global Infrastructure Fund in 2017. It drew close to full deployment of that fund’s A$2.35 billion ($1.8 billion; €1.5 billion) of capital with its investment in Generate Capital last year.