Allan Moss, Macquarie Bank chief executive, has hit out at critics who claim the infrastructure funds it manages are at risk because they are excessively leveraged. Financial Times

’That comment about leverage is not a comment that has been made by any of the serious analysts or any of the leading investors,’ Moss said.

’In fact, the average leverage in our infrastructure funds is less than 60%, which is reasonably conservative for very high-quality assets and these are very high-quality assets with very, very reliable income streams.’

Macquarie and its 31 infrastructure funds are the world’s biggest private owner of infrastructure assets. Macquarie’s assets under management total A$225bn (£99bn) - more than half infrastructure investments – and include Thames Water in the UK, airports in Sydney and Brussels, and toll roads in the US, Canada and Japan.

Several well-known investors, notably Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates, the world’s biggest dedicated short-selling hedge fund, have claimed that the Macquarie model works only in an era of cheap debt and rising assets prices.