New Zealand’s HRL Morrison backs new fund

A new strategic partnership between infrastructure fund manager HRL Morrison and New Zealand asset manager Fisher Funds will form a retail infrastructure fund expected to be available to investors early next month.

New Zealand fund manager Fisher Funds has entered a strategic partnership with HRL Morrison that will result in Morrison taking a 26 percent equity stake in Fisher as well as the launch of a new retail infrastructure fund early next month.

Lloyd Morrison

As part of the deal, Morrison, a specialist manager of infrastructure assets for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, will see its executive chairman, Lloyd Morrison, take a seat on Fisher’s board of directors. Fisher’s managing director, Carmel Fisher, will in turn join the Morrison board.

The deal will also result in the launch of a new retail infrastructure fund for the New Zealand market, which will be branded under the Fisher name and managed by Morrison. The fund will invest in listed infrastructure assets. “We look forward to working with the Morrison team to launch our new fund, expected to be available early December,” Fisher said in a statement.

For Morrison, the deal is a culmination of a long held interest in the fund management sector and the desire to find a partner with a complementary skill set, according to the statement.

Morrison already manages a prominent New Zealand Stock Exchange-listed infrastructure fund, Infratil, which it established in 1994. Infratil seeks controlling stakes in infrastructure assets in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and continental Europe. It has interests in Australian electricity and gas retailer Victoria Electricity, the Wellington Airport and transport provider NZ Bus, among other assets.

Lloyd Morrison said that the deal won’t impact Infratil investors in any way as Fisher won’t be investing in the same assets that Infratil does. As a result, the two funds won’t be competing with each other for the same assets.

He remains upbeat about the pipeline of deals available for Infratil, which is reviewing opportunities in the US.

“The market is taking asset price levels down to increasingly attractive levels,” Morrison said.

Yvette Choo contributed reporting to this story.