Transport Infrastructure - A speciality

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The Financial-Architects.Asia name is best known in recent years for specialising in ideas for the improvement of public decision-making for transport infrastructure, either with focus on Sydney's particular congestion problems, and some lesser attention to specifics within Melbourne and Brisbane, or in the area of policy settings affecting major road and rail project evaluation nation-wide.

History of credentials:

After a very successful career in investment banking, Ian Bell had established the project/infrastructure advisory division for a big 4 accounting firm in 1995 and thereafter built a team of analysts who advised on financial models for a wide range of projects including Availability PPP's for water treatment, social infrastructure & also User Charge Structures (or the many variants thereof) for a multitude of transport-related projects, such as the airport privatisations, water and power, and toll roads.

Prior to 10 years with Macquarie Bank, Leo Economides had worked for Oxley Corporate Finance (originally founded in 1987 by Ian Bell) on PPP's in water treatment, power stations and also, relevantly to our current interests, the Speedrail very high speed train joint venture led by Dale Budd, involving TGV technology [provided  by French rail manufacturer Alsthom]. That was history (an unrequited project), and maybe a lost opportunity for Australia, but now those earlier HSR technologies have moved on through Spain's AVE and new Alstom efforts ... let alone China's, Japan's and even South Korea's efforts. [Australia it seems will be the last continent other than Antartica to get true High-Speed Rail].

Ian & Leo joined together again in 2012 to partner in launching Financial-Architects.Asia, reflecting their orientation to perfecting the design of finance packages rather than following the standard investment banking business model of following the latest "deal fad".

Together Ian & Leo subsequently reverse-engineered the financial structure for the Brisbane Airport Link toll road PPP (listed group Brisconnections) from its IPO documents to establish the reasons for failure of the listed financial structure. Likewise failures of other tunnelled toll road projects were analysed and new market-based toll pricing methods devised for simple benchmarking.

Together they also collaborated on the development of "network tolling" and other road pricing concepts for application to city motorway networks. [More on this on our web page: ROAD PRICING].

More recent examples of leading infrastructure research have been:

* In 2012, Ian Bell presented ideas for an Inland Roads and Rail Route Corporation to the Federal Minister for Transport and NSW local government shires led by Parkes Council (the proposed Inland Rail Project)

* In 2014, in conjunction with Strategex, we presented ideas for improving the potential financial feasibility of Australian east coast High Speed Rail, to selected parties.

* The Sydney FastLink concept for speeding up future Sydney rail both east-west (the Badgerys Creek requirement) and north-south, through Parramatta as a hub or Nexus. [Dealt with at a high level in the page: WSA FastLink].

* More recently, pesentations to the Transport Australia Society of Engineers Australia and a collection of Newcastle-based leaders on the prospects for a Hunter City (Newcastle) to Sydney High-Speed Rail project as part of a future City Deal. The discussion with Engineers Australia was on the subject " Does Australia need high speed rail? ".

Since 2012 roles have involved light rail, freight rail, peer review of cost-benefit analyses, under-grounding of railway stations, plus the development of real estate "value capture" modelling tools. We've also supported Boards and respected Chairpersons behind the scenes.


After a combined total of nearly three-quarters of a century in banking & finance, our lead team members have decided to concentrate on just two areas - transport infrastructure and reliable predictive investment management.

This site deals only with the transport infrastructure side.

In this area we focus on (1) improving methods of project evaluation, (2) better design of policy for transport infrastructure, and (3) the importance of rational pricing for demand. This has led us into areas like road pricing, biased evaluation methods between road and rail, integration of land use and transport planning & a particular interest in faster rail, including to regional cities.

We are now very much concentrating on major government policy changes that are needed to solve transport infrastructure problems in our major east coast cities and their satellite regions, and in influencing Australia to take a longer term view of its transport infrastructure needs, as population grows (we call it "the Bradfield test").


We need to build more backbone rail [which would take pressure off roads, under a policy of faster rail speeds]


Australian governments need to get better in rail and in project evaluation of road versus rail

[i.e. long termism]


Regional cities and towns can help alleviate city house price pressures if better, modern rail connections exist [City Deals] with a better balance between roads & rail

© Copyright Financial-Architects.Asia, Financial-Architects.Asia Pty Ltd, 2017

Train, road images attribution Wikimedia Commons, except where otherwise shown