Infrastructure investing: mind the gap!

Friday, September 4, 2020 | By Aparna Parameswaran, Managing Director, Real Asset Services

Infrastructure investing:  mind the gap!

Despite financial and political risks and the COVID-19 pandemic, the appetite for Infrastructure Investing continues to rise. Increasing population, aging transportation, outdated data centers and the availability of more efficient green technologies highlights the need for infrastructure investment. Healthy infrastructure has a huge impact on global communities’ ability to thrive and for local economies to prosper.  While it seems that managers have been successful in raising funds, deployment has been slow for many managers.   

Infrastructure investments require huge capital mobilization and are often financed by equity and leverage. The terms of borrowing require assets to be ring-fenced and sometimes lead to a structure with multiple legal entities to acquire a single asset. Investing in different countries brings with it the added complexity of meeting local registration and compliance requirements, not to mention some language barriers. A global investor base requiring non-standard reporting adds to the challenges.  Tracking all of that transactional activity for a varied asset class, maintaining documentation for all assets and entities in a fund structure, and then “rolling it all up” into consolidated reporting is a daunting task for fund and asset managers, particularly in the absence of sophisticated technology solutions and knowledgeable fund accountants. Maintaining a compliance calendar for every country and ensuring that there is proper governance and oversight is time-consuming and expensive, at times requiring effective coordination between multiple vendors. Having a solid local team that can get timely and accurate reporting from asset managers or joint venture partners is no easy task. 

In general, infrastructure fund and asset management firms need to access systems containing essential and up-to-date information about investors and potential investments. They need to track investment opportunities across time zones and by geographical locations, all while keeping abreast of trends and evolution of asset type. Once a fund is raised and capital deployed, firms need to manage and track current information on performance of underlying investments and maintain details of different fund entities, track cash flows, prepare investor capital accounts and financial statements, and calculate distributions and waterfall.  These tasks span CRM, deal-flow management, portfolio monitoring and management, accounting, and reporting solutions. 

We have helped many infrastructure investment managers with their steady march towards better content. Some of our clients are providing best-in-class information to their investors, and doing so faster than ever.  Our fund and investor portals and virtual data rooms also extend our clients’ capabilities to bring live investor activity, balances and easy access to historical data in a variety of on-screen and exportable data formats. We collaborate with our clients to understand their specific needs and customize our proprietary tech solutions to meet their distinctive requirements.

SS&C is always thinking about ways to offer more solutions to existing and prospective clients. For example, our real assets fund administration platform (with software like TNR, Core & Sightline built in) can be configured for different types of infrastructure investments—each requiring unique financial and non-financial data sets to be absorbed for downstream reporting for the manager and ultimately, the investors. It also works as an efficient tool to maintain control over innumerable entities and related documents.

Infrastructure is a unique and ever-evolving asset class, and we explore some of the latest industry trends pre- and post-COVID-19 in our latest whitepaper The Effect of COVID-19 on Transportation Infrastructure.

Alternative Investments, Asset Management, Fund Administration

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