Major European and North American institutional investors have come together to create a global lobbying organisation for the infrastructure asset class.

Nineteen investors with €177bn in infrastructure assets, including APG, PGGM, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and PSP Investments, have officially launched the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (GIIA) after several months of talks.

The association will focus on increasing awareness and sharing knowledge of the unlisted infrastructure market, while also engaging directly with governments and regulators.

The creation of an unlisted infrastructure association in Europe has been mooted for some time. IP Real Estate understands that Dutch institutions, which were instrumental in creating Europe’s unlisted real estate association INREV, have been particularly keen.

INREV has been approached on a number of occasions over the years about the possibility of extending its remit to cover the asset class. Lonneke Löwik, who was brought in to manage the launch of GIIA, was previously director of professional standards at INREV.

Unlike INREV, which does a lot of work on governance best practice and transparency, GIAA will be aimed mainly at ”working with governments, regulators and policy makers to develop attractive and stable political, legal, tax and regulatory environments for infrastructure investment”.

Löwik said: “There is a significant amount of private capital available for investment in infrastructure which could help to build out and maintain infrastructure at times of budget constraints, thereby supporting economic growth. Through this new association we are creating an efficient way for the engagement between the private investment community and governments and regulators.

“We want to foster an understanding of the issues involved with private investments in infrastructure and to build strong relationships with policy makers and regulators to ensure that those investments are facilitated and help in meeting the infrastructure needs of economies across the world.”

Löwik added: “Over the last two decades, infrastructure as an asset class has emerged from within alternative assets into its own distinct class. Private investors in this asset class are likely going to play a crucial role in the coming decades as existing infrastructure across the globe requires updating and new infrastructure is created.

”There is data on how consistent and fair policies encourage investment and other examples of what discourages investment. The association will also advocate best practices supported by data.”

A working group has been established, including Ron Boots of APG, Markus Hottenrott of Morgan Stanley, Chris Beale of Alinda Capital Partners, Andrew Claerhout of Ontario Teachers, Alain Rauscher and Sebastien Lecaudey of Antin Infrastructure Partners, Matthew Farnum-Schneider of Prudential, Martin Lennon of Infracapital, Cressida Hogg of CPPIB and Bruno Guilmetter of PSP.

GIIA has 19 founding members: Alinda Capital Partners, Allianz Capital Partners, Antin Infrastructure Partners, APG Asset Management, Arcus Infrastructure Partners, Brookfield Infrastructure, CPPIB, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, EISER Infrastructure Partners, Global Infrastructure Partners, Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, IFC Asset Management Company, IFM Investors, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, PGGM, Prudential / InfraCapital, PSP Investments and 3i Investment.