Ross Israel – Stable, Predictable Cash Flows (EP.53)

Ross Israel – Stable, Predictable Cash Flows (EP.53)

Ross Israel is the Head of Global Infrastructure Investments for QIC, Queensland, Australia’s 82B AUZ ($62B USD) investment fund. The Queensland government formed QIC in 1991 to oversee its Superannuation Fund, and the business has since evolved into a Global Diversified Alternative Asset Manager. Ross joined QIC in 2006 to create the Global Infrastructure effort and also serves as a member of QIC’s Executive Committee.  He has a quarter century’s worth of experience in corporate finance and infrastructure funds management.

Our conversation covers QIC’s structure, examples of long duration assets in ports and waterways, crossing knowledge between private and public markets, managing external assets alongside a substantial internal pool, governance structure, compensation and incentives, navigating stakeholders, and opportunities and risks in the space.

The subtle differences in constituents and objectives of sovereign wealth funds from other institutional pools come out in the implementation of QIC’s investing. It’s a topic we’ll continue to explore on future shows.

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Show Notes  

3:10 – A look at Ross’s background  

5:58 – QIC and how is it structured 

7:32 – Portfolio composition when Ross arrived 

9:08 – What was his strategy for putting money to work 

10:03 – What was the thinking behind such a concentrated portfolio  

11:28 – Port of Brisbane 

15:38 – Local vs. global focus 

16:58 – Most challenging deal he’s done 

18:28 – Lessons learned from their investing strategies 

20:01 – Structure of their investment decision meetings 

22:43 – Why does QIC take on outside capital? 

25:27 – How does being part of a government entity play out in the deal dynamics 

27:43 – How does decision making work on the fund? 

29:06 – What happens if an internally run fund falters?  

30:40 – QIC’s approach to incentives and compensation 

37:13 – What influence do the large pool of funds have on the way they pursue investments 

39:06 – How do they think about their objectives 

41:30 – What is the competitive landscape for infrastructure investments 

44:38 – What are the concerns as they look out on the horizon 

47:32 – How do they view public debt 

48:54 – Closing Questions