J.P. Morgan Asset Management raised $858.6 million in a fund dedicated to investing in Asian infrastructure, expanding its real assets investment business into emerging markets.
In an interview, Philip Jackson, Hong Kong-based CEO of J.P. Morgan's Asia infrastructure group said this early stage of opportunity in Asia is akin to the 19th-century westward expansion in the U.S., when the government offered a few railroad titans free land in exchange for expanding the railroads.
“The U.S. asked J.P. Morgan (and others) ... to put in capital to build the railroads and roads in this neck of the woods,” said the British-born Mr. Jackson.
Now, the company that bears the financier's name is continuing that pioneering spirit. It plans to spend the newly raised capital of the J.P. Morgan Asian Infrastructure & Related Resources Opportunity Fund to build and invest in toll roads and other transportation assets as well as power generation, electricity transmission/distribution facilities, water supply, waste management and social infrastructure such as health-care facilities. Its infrastructure investment executives are based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai.
“There's a need for infrastructure throughout Asia and has been for 40 years,” Mr. Jackson said. “Now there's a rapidly growing middle class who can afford to pay for the infrastructure we take for granted in Europe and the U.S.” — Arleen Jacobius