US infrastructure looks ‘third world’: CEO

Jessica Hartogs, Special to CNBC
US infrastructure looks third world: L&G CEO

Infrastructure in the United States is currently suffering from a lack of investment which could leave opportunities for asset managers, two separate industry experts told CNBC on Monday.

Nigel Wilson, the CEO of U.K.-based Legal & General – which has around $1 trillion of assets under management - believes that "some of the infrastructure in the U.S. looks third world."

"It's shabby beyond belief," said the British businessman to CNBC.

Meanwhile, Richard Champion, the deputy CIO at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, agreed telling CNBC that "some (global) infrastructure, particularly in the United States – is absolutely creaking."

"The number of bridges, which are basically falling down … I'm not talking about tarmacking and concreting rivers over like they did in Japan," he said.

Champion and Wilson both said that this is creating investment opportunities, alongside similar projects in Europe and the U.K.

Legal & General, the insurance and investment group, is investing billions in the U.K.'s infrastructure, according to Wilson.

"Devolving power to U.K. cities is going to create real economic growth here in the U.K. with a massive multiplier effect," he said. There are huge investment opportunities in sectors such as housing, urban regeneration, energy, transportation and medical facilities, Wilson added.

"The world is full of wonderful investment opportunity at the moment. The problem is that innovation has not been transferred into real investment creating real jobs because of this obsession with interest rates, this obsession with having negative interest rates," Wilson said.

Despite the critical remarks on the U.S., the country ranks fairly handsomely in a competitiveness report produced annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF). According to its latest report, the U.S. rates 11th out of 140 countries for infrastructure, with the U.K. ranking just before it in 9th place.

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