Ex-JPMorgan bankers start emerging market infrastructure investment firm

Workers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in GujaratWorkers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in Gujarat, India, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

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LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – Two former JP Morgan credit bankers on Monday launched a new impact investment advisory firm focused on emerging market infrastructure, with a minority stake by British insurer Legal & General's (LGEN.L) alternative investments arm.

The firm, ImpactA Global, aims to help address the World Bank's estimated need for $1 trillion in annual investment in emerging market infrastructure to meet development goals.

It will target new projects through a debt fund, initially involving renewable energy, mobility and health and sanitation in Latin America, Africa and South Asia.

"The idea to set this up came out of our frustration of seeing so many good projects fail to reach close because the (necessary piece) of capital is missing," said Isabella da Costa Mendes, ImpactA's co-chief executive officer, in an interview.

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Da Costa Mendes, a former JPMorgan executive director, shares the top job at ImpactA with co-founder Victoria Miles, who had served as a managing director of the Wall Street firm.

ImpactA aims to bring in investors such as development finance institutions, export credit agencies and institutional asset managers to provide debt financing to these projects.

ImpactA will provide the first 5% to 15% of debt for projects worth about $100 million to $300 million in order to attract around eight times more in financing from elsewhere, da Costa Mendes said.

ImpactA is among the very few investment firms focused solely on emerging market infrastructure debt, with a global rather than regional focus, she added. Many investment firms only offer equity stakes or focus on a particular region.

Legal & General Capital CEO Laura Mason said the insurer is a "significant minority shareholder" in ImpactA, declining to disclose the size of the stake.

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