Posted in Fiducia News on 27.07.21
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With the financial marketplace experiencing such unprecedented upheaval, our Investment Committee is working continuously to adapt our portfolios to accommodate and protect against the global fluctuations and challenges presented by Covid-19.

Like our own Investment Committee, the Portfolio Managers of the funds we invest into are having to address, adapt and evolve throughout this period too.

We recently caught up with Bertrand Cliquet of Lazard Asset Management in a Fund Manager Q&A – a series we’re running to enable us to provide our readers with insights into the strategies some of the managers within our portfolios deploy.

Who is Bertrand Cliquet?

Bertrand is a Portfolio Manager/Analyst on the Global Listed Infrastructure team at Lazard.

Before joining Lazard in 2004, Bertrand worked for Goldman Sachs International as a Research Analyst. Prior to this, he worked in the Mergers and Acquisitions group at Deutsche Bank, focusing on the utility and retail sectors.  He also did an internship at Enskilda Securities in Paris, where he worked as an Analyst covering the retail sector.

Bertrand has been working in the investment field since 1999.  He attained a business degree from HEC in Paris, with a major in Finance. Bertrand was also awarded the Prize of the “Club Finance International”, and the Prize of the HEC Foundation for his thesis on “The deregulation of the European electricity market and its consequences for electricity prices and the strategic positioning of energy companies”. Bertrand is fluent in both French and German and is a CFA® charter holder.


So let’s take a look at Bertrand’s answers to our questions…

Fund Manager Q&A:


1. What is the investment philosophy of the fund?

The fund seeks to provide a middle ground between bonds and equities by investing in the equity of highly forecastable infrastructure assets and provide strong protection against inflation spikes. The key to our investment process is the belief that only a selected number of assets meet our strict definition of Preferred Infrastructure. They are assets that, unlike other companies, are not subject to market forces, but operate monopolies of essential services, such as water provision or electricity high voltage grids. This monopolistic position will be accompanied by a high degree of regulatory oversight, or the framework of a concession contract. They will enable companies to adjust their tariffs according to inflation on a yearly basis.

2. Did the fund strategy change during the C19 pandemic and if so how?

During the pandemic, our investment process remained unchanged. However, different challenges emerged, such as the impact on traffic of airports and motorways, and how gradual a recovery could be from the restrictions to free mobility. Besides, the role of our energy and water grids as key enablers of the energy transition became more prominent, with many companies such as the National Grid in the UK or Terna, in Italy, increasing substantially investment programmes in order to accommodate the increase in renewable power or the development of electric mobility.

3. How has the C19 pandemic impacted the way in which you operate?

Our team consists of six members. We are located across the globe, in the US, Australia, and the UK. As such over the last 15 years since the inception of the strategy, we have worked efficiently remotely from each other. AS a result, COVID 19 has had limited impact to the way our team operates. Besides, Lazard had invested heavily in technology in the years running to 2019, which enabled a seamless transition not only  or the investment teams, but for all business functions, including trading, portfolio implementation and reporting.

4. Do you see the newly signed $1.2tn US infrastructure bill as a positive for additional infrastructure investments worldwide?

The infrastructure bill is a positive sign that governments understand that infrastructure investments are crucial for future economic development. For example, when Italian gas utility Italgas discusses its investment programme with the Italian government, in the energy transition from natural gas to green gases and ultimately hydrogen, they are working on the assumption of a 3.3x GDP multiplier for each amount invested in the network. As such, the organic investment opportunities of these companies will remain very high for the foreseeable future. This should help them to keep their status as steady companies.

5. What do you see as the outlook for investing in infrastructure?

In a context of highly expensive markets, we view the robust and steady features of preferred companies as a key advantage for investors. Moreover, the combination of investment in asset replacement, capacity expansion and the vast opportunity offered by the energy transition provides a compelling backdrop to invest in infrastructure companies. This appeal is compounded by the resurgence of inflation, where the relevance of preferred infrastructure companies with strong inflation protection characteristics should be further reinforced for investors. Our focus as an investment team, is to continue to exhibit pricing discipline and exploit opportunities offered by the market.


At Fiducia we are continuously looking to deliver outstanding value and expertise to our clients, if you have any questions regarding your investment portfolio please do not hesitate to speak to a member of our team. We are a multi award-winning Chartered Financial Adviser based in Colchester, Essex. Our advisers will ensure you have the right investments to help you meet your financial goals, in a tax efficient way that works for you.

Important Information

Information and opinions presented are correct to the best of our knowledge and belief, and have been obtained or derived from sources believed by Lazard to be reliable. The securities mentioned are not necessarily held by Lazard for all client portfolios, and their mention should not be considered a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or sell these securities. It should not be assumed that any investment in these securities was, or will be, profitable, or that the investment decisions we make in the future will profitable or equal to the investment performance of securities referenced herein. Issued and approved in the United Kingdom by Lazard Asset Management Limited, 50 Stratton Street, London W1J 8LL.  Incorporated in England and Wales, registered number 525667.  Lazard Asset Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.