“We made it work. My wife was very supportive. She had been in banking so understood its demands. Again, I commuted, this time between Milan and London. Two years later the family moved to London. It was hard but if I look back, it was worth it.”
Work and family are constant competitors for many globe-trotting executives. Corona says you need to work at satisfying both. “I like swimming with my daughter. That’s what we do together. I was born on February 5, so my zodiac sign is a water one. I love the water and so does my daughter.”
“We travel together as a family. I don’t get sick of airplanes and there’s an island in the middle of the Mediterranean where we spend our (northern) summer.”
Corona’s career has gone from generalist to specialist. Like fund managers who have been in the industry for long enough, he has experienced the highs and the lows of investing, and of career development. It was when he was offered the job at AMP Capital that he realised he needed to specialise in an asset class such as infrastructure.
“I wanted to be in an asset class that was destined to grow and was going to attract investment. It was clear that given demographics and the ageing population, infrastructure was an asset class that was expanding.”
That’s how he ended up as AMP Capital’s head of listed global infrastructure. He agrees he’s ambitious, but not about building personal wealth.
“I like to invest money and I want to win. I really do like doing that in my job. But what motivates me is winning to deliver the best outcomes for clients.”
Investing is a lifelong learning experience for Corona.
“My very first portfolio manager at Bear Stearns taught me how to look at a stock and how to analyse a company. He wasn’t the perfect investor. He made mistakes. But he was very disciplined in determining whether a business model was any good.”
“I’ve worked with incredibly talented people and have learnt from others in both a positive and negative way. Sometimes the people who do the wrong thing teach you something,” he says.
Corona has a methodology in finding and investing in companies.
“First we look at the quality of the underlying assets. Because infrastructure is such a global business, you need to look at the quality of regulation in the jurisdiction the asset is operating in. What’s the quality of the contracts they’ve signed? For example, if you are buying an airport, you really want to know the government’s rules around the airport, exactly how that airport operates and the economics of the business.”
“Then you look at the quality of the company, which might be different from the quality of the assets. You think about management. You think about key stakeholders.”
“You think about sustainability factors, like the environment, diversity and corporate governance."
“And you look at valuation, because at the end of the day we are investors. Investing is all about capturing the dislocation between what we think the company is worth, and what the company is trading at right now.”
“At the end of the day our job is a privilege. Our clients trust us with their retirement money, and we need to allocate that money after doing very detailed due diligence. We need to make sure that level of trust between us and our clients is not broken.”
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