Searching for a listed infrastructure asset class using mean–variance spanning

Published:  April 2017
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This study examines the portfolio-diversification benefits of listed infrastructure stocks. We employ three different definitions of listed infrastructure and tests of mean–variance spanning. The evidence shows that viewing infrastructure as an asset class is misguided.

Summary

This study examines the portfolio-diversification benefits of listed infrastructure stocks. We employ three different definitions of listed infrastructure and tests of mean–variance spanning. The evidence shows that viewing infrastructure as an asset class is misguided. We employ different schemes of infrastructure asset selection (both traditional asset classes and factor exposures) and discover that they do not provide portfolio-diversification benefits to existing asset allocation choices. We also find that defining and selecting infrastructure investments by business model as opposed to industrial sectors can reveal a very different investment profile, albeit one that improves the mean–variance efficient frontier since the global financial crisis. This study provides new insights into defining and benchmarking infrastructure equity investments in general, as well as into the extent to which public markets can be used to proxy the risk-adjusted performance of privately held infrastructure investments.