Columbia Threadneedle Investments is setting up an infrastructure business to offer clients in Europe access to the asset class.

The €395bn asset manager has hired three senior managers to join Heiko Schupp who has been appointed to the newly created role of global head of infrastructure investments.

Schupp joins from Hastings Fund Management where he was a senior portfolio manager.

Columbia Threadneedle said it has appointed Ash Kelso as head of asset management, Antonio Botija as head of acquisitions and Ingrid Weston as a senior portfolio manager.

Kelso joins from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he was a director for energy, utilities and infrastructure.

Botija previously worked as an investment director at Hastings and Weston joins from HSBC Global Asset Management, where she worked as a product specialist in infrastructure debt.

Michelle Scrimgeour, Columbia Threadneedle Investments’ EMEA CEO, said: “As an active investment management firm, infrastructure complements our existing range of real assets and alternative investments, and allows us to enhance our offering to clients.”

In an era of low-interest rates, the long-term nature of infrastructure assets and their stable, inflation-linked income characteristics match the longevity and total return requirements of institutional investors’ portfolios, Scrimgeour said.

“The investment opportunity for the private sector is growing – public spending is constrained, yet governments around the world need to construct more assets to maintain their economic growth. It is estimated that in Europe alone, €2trn of investment in infrastructure is needed by 2020.”