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07 ago 2017

Laying the foundations for infrastructure

 

Against a backdrop of low yields, rising inflation and the possibility of significant fiscal spending, investing in US and European infrastructure could prove rewarding. Historically, listed infrastructure has provided an attractive risk-reward ratio compared with the broader equity market, and suffered lower drawdowns during bearish periods.

The problem is that traditionally, investing in infrastructure has been seen as the preserve of big institutional investors. But at Lyxor, we believe anyone should be able to access core infrastructure which provides exposure with lower volatility of both returns and cash flow. That’s why we’ve recently launched two ETFs investing in listed infrastructure companies. One focuses on Europe, and the other on the US. 

 

What exactly is infrastructure?

Infrastructure covers a variety of sectors – it isn’t a sector in itself. Typically an infrastructure company manages or operate networks that move goods, services, data, people or energy from one location to another. So that could be firms involved in, for example, railways, airports, broadband networks or providing electricity. 

 

Some attractive benefits

Infrastructure has the scope to provide a stable dividend yield – a particularly appealing attribute in what remains a low-yield environment – and it can act as a useful hedge against inflation. That’s because governments typically award infrastructure companies with long-term contracts, with prices linked to an inflation index.

The companies involved in infrastructure also represent interesting investment opportunities as they have some quite distinct economic characteristics. They’re generally operating with very limited competition, and there are high barriers to new companies entering the market.

 

A good time to invest

Infrastructure spending in developed markets has been on a structural decline for the past 40 years or so. The result is that even in the world’s most developed countries, like Germany and the US, infrastructure is really quite poor. 

 

But this looks set to change. There’s been lots of talk from Donald Trump about his plans to invest USD 1 trillion in US infrastructure, and in Europe too governments have made clear their plans to upgrade their national networks. In fact, this investment is already coming through – there’s been a slight pick-up in infrastructure spending over the past few years. In fact, a McKinsey report produced in June Last year stated that “Global economies need to invest US$3.3 trillion in infrastructure annually between 2016 and 2030 to keep pace with desired economic growth rates”. That could be great news for the companies operating in infrastructure and investors looking to allocate to them. 

 

Why choose an ETF?

The traditional way to invest in infrastructure is through unlisted private equity vehicles. These are the purest way of accessing the asset class, but they involve some major drawbacks. First, they’re difficult for most investors to access as they require large minimum investments. Second, they’re highly illiquid as they invest in projects lasting 20 years or more. This means it’s very hard to get your money back if you need it quickly. Third, fees are generally high. And finally, there’s a limited opportunity set as there aren’t that many infrastructure projects to invest in, which means your investments are concentrated.

Infrastructure ETFs can help you get around these problems. There are lots of listed companies operating in infrastructure, and investing in them via an ETF ensures a good level of diversification. Fees are much lower. You don’t need to invest a big sum of money, and what you do invest you can get back immediately as ETFs can be traded intra-day in normal market conditions. What’s more, as part of a regulated stock market, listed companies are highly transparent, so you know exactly what your money’s going into.

 

A unique proposition

At the moment there are few infrastructure ETFs available to European investors, and those that are tend to follow global indices. Ours are different in that they focus solely on individual regions: one on the US, the other on Europe. That means if you have a view on which area is likely to see greater infrastructure spending, you can pinpoint your allocation accordingly.

Another benefit of our ETFs is the way the indices they follow are constructed. They provide pure exposure to infrastructure, only investing in firms that derive at least 65% of their revenues from the core infrastructure activities of transportation, energy and telecommunications. And they avoid the fault that has historically plagued many other infrastructure indices – overexposure to utilities firms. Our ETFs cap their utilities exposure at 50% of assets, ensuring a good level of diversification. 

With the underlying indices currently providing a dividend yield of 3% for the US and 4% for Europe*, our ETFs could be a great way of earning some much-needed income while protecting against future rises in inflation. And as they’re run by Europe’s second biggest ETF provider**, you can be sure they’ll aim to faithfully track the indices they follow at low cost and with high liquidity.

 *Source: FTSE Russell, as at 30 June 2017. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

**Source: Lyxor International Asset Management, as measured by ETF assets under management as at 31/07/2017.

 

Find out more:

» View the Lyxor FTSE USA Core Infrastructure Capped UCITS ETF (BUIL)

» View the Lyxor FTSE Developed Europe Core Infrastructure Capped UCITS ETF (MAKE)

Disclaimer

The figures relating to past performances refer to past periods and are not a reliable indicator for future results. This also applies to historical market data.

This communication is for professional clients only. This document is for the exclusive use of investors acting on their own account and categorised either as “Eligible Counterparties” or “Professional Clients” within the meaning of Markets In Financial Instruments Directive 2004/39/EC.

This document is of a commercial nature and not of a regulatory nature. This document does not constitute an offer, or an invitation to make an offer, from Société Générale, Lyxor International Asset Management or any of their respective affiliates or subsidiaries to purchase or sell the product referred to herein.

We recommend to investors who wish to obtain further information on their tax status that they seek assistance from their tax advisor. The attention of the investor is drawn to the fact that the net asset value stated in this document (as the case may be) cannot be used as a basis for subscriptions and/or redemptions. The market information displayed in this document is based on data at a given moment and may change from time to time. The figures relating to past performances refer or relate to past periods and are not a reliable indicator of future results. This also applies to historical market data. The potential return may be reduced by the effect of commissions, fees, taxes or other charges borne by the investor.

Lyxor International Asset Management (Lyxor ETF), société par actions simplifiée having its registered office at Tours Société Générale, 17 cours Valmy, 92800 Puteaux (France), 418 862 215 RCS Nanterre, is authorized and regulated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) under the UCITS Directive and the AIFM Directive (2011/31/EU). Lyxor ETF is represented in the UK by Lyxor Asset Management UK LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under Registration Number 435658.​

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.

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