Canadian pension fund OMERS reports first annual loss since financial crisis

A Canadian dollar coin, commonly known as the "Loonie", is pictured in this illustration picture taken in Toronto January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

Canadian pension fund OMERS on Thursday reported its first annual net loss since the 2008 financial crisis, as widespread lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic hit its investments in real estate, energy and financial services sectors.

OMERS reported a negative return of 2.7% or $C3 billion in 2020.

Many Canadian pension funds struggled to navigate the coronavirus pandemic last year, leading to widespread shutdowns of the economy and historic market falls.

OMERS, one of the largest defined benefit pension plans in Canada, saw its investment portfolio averaging annual returns of 8.2% over the ten-year period leading up to 2020. It delivered returns of 11.9% in 2019.

“This is one difficult year, largely COVID-related that we will put behind us,” Chief Executive Officer Blake Hutcheson told Reuters, while pointing to better days ahead.

“We’ve woken up this year already in pretty good shape but it didn’t happen to coincide with year-end,” he said.

OMERS said it planned to shift capital towards businesses with lower carbon intensity, including renewable power, and continue to invest in real estate sectors, including industrial spaces and laboratories.

Founded in 1962, OMERS is a jointly sponsored, defined benefit pension plan, with 1,000 participating employers ranging from large cities to local agencies. OMERS had $105 billion in net assets as at the end of 2020.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.