SWITZERLAND - A fund jointly launched by Macquarie and Julius Bär, the private bank, is targeting European pension fund investors with a global infrastructure fund focused primarily on energy and utilities.

The fund, which gained Swiss regulatory approval last week after launching in Luxembourg in June, taps into the growing appetite among European pension fund for infrastructure equities. With a universe of 700 quoted companies with a combined market capitalisation of €2.95bn, it has to date invested in 44 companies across 16 markets.

This fund targets both institutional and retail investors. However, a press statement issued by the bank made clear a bias towards European pension funds, which have yet to catch up with Canadian pension funds' infrastructure allocations of 5—15%.

Interviews to be published in the next issue of IPE Real Estate show a marked preference among Dutch and Danish pension funds - the European front-runners in infrastructure investment - for infrastructure in mature markets. Although the fund has a target allocation of 28.7% in mature Europe and 23.3% in the US, it also has a significant (5.6%) target for China.

Henk Huizing, an adviser to Dutch pension funds on infrastructure investments, predicts an increase in geographical and sectoral niche funds, including energy and airport funds.

Julius Bär declined to comment on the Macquarie-managed fund because IPE is based in the UK, where the bank does not have regulatory approval to distribute the fund.