How Macquarie is powering entrepreneurial spirit through infrastructure transactions

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How Macquarie is powering entrepreneurial spirit through infrastructure transactions

Working on projects that bring renewable energy to our cities and communities, Jackie Funder's work in Macquarie Capital's infrastructure advisory team brings out her inner entrepreneur and allows her to seek out new investment opportunities.

Jackie Funder loves being able to work on projects that will power our cities of the future. With a remit to seek out investment opportunities in renewable energy, the projects she works on drive positive impacts within communities in Australia.

A Vice President in Macquarie Capital's infrastructure advisory group in Melbourne, Jackie joined Macquarie in New York in late 2014. Her role was working in financial sponsor coverage as a relationship manager for people who wanted to buy or sell infrastructure assets. Eighteen months ago, she switched to the execution side of infrastructure deals, focusing on green energy.

It began when she was asked to assist for a couple of months on a Principal transaction, Murra Warra wind farm in Victoria. “I was a bit nervous to say yes because my experience was in sponsor coverage. But that's one of the great things about Macquarie – you get opportunities to try something new."

“I don't think there's been a time in my career where I've learnt more than over the past year and a half. I feel very fortunate that I was well-supported to be able to take on something different."

Jackie's first execution project was a significant deal. When completed, Murra Warra I wind farm, in north-western Victoria, will be one of Australia's largest wind farms.

Bringing the entrepreneurial spirit to life

A global leader in green energy, Macquarie Capital currently has more than 90 green energy projects under development or construction. Macquarie Capital differs from many of its competitors in that it makes principal investments in projects, rather than solely advisory work.

“That means we have the opportunity to use our balance sheet to invest in a company or an asset," Jackie says. “We can therefore look around the market and come up with ideas for Macquarie to invest in, which gives us huge scope to be very entrepreneurial."

Her role is complex and stimulating. For a wind farm project, for example, the work done by Jackie and her team includes due diligence, financial modelling, arranging debt as well as negotiating construction and operating contracts.

An unexpected career path

Jackie says she didn't carefully plan her career path, but was always ready to challenge herself and to try something new. At university she had "absolutely no idea" where a degree in commerce and economics might take her. She started out as a graduate working in management consultancy for three and a half years, then decided it wasn't for her.

So, she moved to New York and worked in financial analytics for a year before being approached for a role in the Macquarie Capital team. She jumped at the opportunity to move to Macquarie in an infrastructure sponsor coverage role.

“For just over two years I was covering North American infrastructure investors."

Keen to return home, Jackie moved back to Melbourne.

These days, Jackie is looking into all types of investments, from bio fuels to non-food crops, electric vehicle charging, waste-to-energy and energy storage.

"I love that Macquarie gives you a licence to investigate and explore. We're nimble enough to respond when opportunities come through, but there are still checks in place to ensure the work is carried out responsibly and within the culture of Macquarie. There really is scope here to go out and seek opportunities, no matter what level you're at."

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