IFM to open Tokyo office

As the firm bolsters its capabilities globally, IFM plans to hire an investment team initially to tap debt and infrastructure opportunities in the Japanese market.

Industry Funds Management, a fund of funds owned by 30 of Australia’s superannuation funds, will open an office in Japan in early 2014, according to a company statement. The Tokyo office will be the Melbourne-headquartered firm’s first in Asia outside of Australia. 

Eddy Schipper, executive director of business development at IFM, will move to Tokyo to head up the office, with the firm intending to hire a senior business development professional to fill his role in Australia. 

Schipper will hire an initial team in Japan, as well as developing relationships with Japanese regulators and institutional investors. Initially, the firm will focus on debt and infrastructure opportunities, with a view to move into other asset classes.

Our investors are increasingly seeking investment opportunities in Asia, and Tokyo provides a strong hub for accessing both Japan and the broader region. This is a long-term commitment for IFM. Initially, we will focus on our global infrastructure debt assets and then look to broaden this over time.  

Brett Himbury, CEO, Industry Funds Management

“Our investors are increasingly seeking investment opportunities in Asia, and Tokyo provides a strong hub for accessing both Japan and the broader region.” IFM chief executive Brett Himbury said in a statement.

“This is a long-term commitment for IFM. Initially, we will focus on our global infrastructure and debt assets and then look to broaden this over time. Under Eddy’s leadership, we will hire an initial team and also work closely with Japanese regulators and institutional investors to align our model with market needs and practices.” 

IFM has been active in building out its asset classes as well as its geographical presence. The firm now has 25 percent of its staff overseas and opened a Berlin office earlier in 2013, the statement said. 

IFM also recently build a new private assets arm, which it consolidated with its private equity operation under a new platform called private capital.

As well as investing in private equity funds globally, the group will also take stakes worth between A$250 million (€193 million; $254 million) and A$500 million in infrastructure-related businesses, including waste-management, transport, healthcare and other essential business services, Private Equity International reported earlier. 

In August, the firm also acquired a 34 percent stake as a co-investor in the buyout of financial services company Scottish Pacific Debtor Finance. IFM's stake represented roughly A$25 million (€16.8 million; $22.3 million), Steven Lipchin, IFM executive director for private equity, told PEI earlier.

Industry Funds Management is an Australia-based global investment manager with A$44 billion in assets under management, according to the firm. It has historically been a fund of funds business serving institutional investors and is owned by 30 major not-for-profit Australian pension funds.