Talking about alternative asset classes, barefootjan from the Diehards forum posted an interesting article that appears in the New York Times. The article “Is It Time to Add a Parking Lot to Your Portfolio?” notes:
Macquarie Bank says parking lots and roadways are potentially as valuable as oil pipelines or electric companies. It views a private parking lot, for example, as operating much like a utility: throwing off lots of cash, increasing its rates as the economy grows and often chugging along with little direct competition.
Macquarie executives say infrastructure is a new asset class, deserving a place in investors’ portfolios alongside the usual stocks, bonds, cash and real estate. According to this line of thinking, the durability and stability of the assets protect against the zigzags of stocks and bonds. In other words, London Bridge may fall down, but only long after Enron has crashed. Infrastructure can help to hedge a portfolio against inflation, said Martin A. Jaugietis, a senior consultant in the asset consulting group at Towers Perrin. “When prices rise, infrastructure assets tend to be able to increase prices in concert,” he said. “The cash flows are similar to the rent you’d get from a building.”
Macquarie has two closed-end funds that invests in this area: Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return and Macquarie/First Trust Global Infrastructure / Utilities Dividend & Income.
PS. I wouldn’t bet my farm on these funds.