Franklin Templeton hires investment officer for ‘real assets’

Philip Alfieri has left Infrastructure Management Group to help Franklin Templeton select fund managers specialising in transportation, agriculture, water, energy and timber investments.

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors has hired an investment officer to select and invest in private “real asset” fund opportunities globally, the firm said in a statement.

Philip Alfieri will work as the firm’s director of investments for real assets. He was previously a managing director at Infrastructure Management Group, a Maryland-based infrastructure advisor and investor.

Alfieri will work with managing director Joyce Shapiro, an ex-Brookfield executive who joined Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors in July to start up its real assets investment team. The firm defines real assets as transportation, agriculture, water, energy and timber investments, according to the statement.

Both Shapiro and Alfieri are based in New York.

Franklin Templeton said “due to the diverse skill sets needed for identifying and evaluating opportunities in each of the sectors comprising real assets” the most efficient approach for investing in the asset class is a “multi-manager vehicle”, or a fund-of-funds.

There has been a “lack of intermediaries that have been able to bring parties together” for such vehicles, so “Franklin Templeton is confident that it can be a provider of choice” for investors seeking exposure to infrastructure via funds-of-funds.

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors, the larger group within which the new real assets team sits, has been investing in funds-of-funds for 20 years, according to the statement. However, until this year, the funds-of-funds investments have focused on private real estate and did not include real assets.

Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors’ parent company, Franklin Resources, is a California-based investment manager with $600 billion in assets under management, according to the statement.