(Pictured: Eddy Schipper)
Industry Funds Management is opening its first Asian office, in Tokyo, and will relocate Eddy Schipper from Australia to oversee the office’s establishment. Schipper, chief executive Brett Himbury and some other executives will travel to Tokyo in October to start the process.
Schipper, who has been executive director of business development at IFM since 2008, would hopefully be working full-time in Tokyo before Christmas, Himbury said last week.
“He will oversee the office and introduce the IFM culture and capabilities,” Himbury said. The office would initially concentrate on sales, primarily in infrastructure debt, but over time would broaden its focus into promoting equity investments as well as helping IFM to develop an understanding of the investment opportunities in the region.
Himbury pointed that that only one of IFM’s 115 institutional clients around the world was based in Asia. The firm has about A$49 billion under management.
The Tokyo office will be the firm’s sixth. The others are Melbourne head office, Sydney, New York, London and Berlin.
“With interest rates at an all-time low, investors are looking at where they’re going to invest to match their liabilities,” Himbury said. “With infrastructure debt, the counterparties are often – not always, but often – governments. And the ownership model of IFM (owned by big super funds) gives investors additional comfort.”
He said that, befitting its ownership, IFM was a patient investor. “We opened in New York just before the GFC hit,” he said. “But we intend to ride out those cycles.”
The group travelling to Tokyo in October will be meeting with legislators, industry bodies, prospective partners and recruiters.