Pension fund Ontario Teachers’ plans hiring spree in Asia, Europe

Ron Mock, President and CEO, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, speaks at the 2019 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of the world’s biggest pension funds, plans to hire “extensively” in Asia and Europe over the next two years and could shift an extra C$11 billion ($8.3 billion) into infrastructure and other real assets, its chief executive told Reuters.

The fund currently employs around 1,200 people across hub offices in Toronto, London and Hong Kong, while a further 1,500 work at real estate subsidiary Cadillac Fairview.

Outgoing Chief Executive Ron Mock told Reuters that Ontario Teachers’ (OTPP) could triple its current Asia headcount of around 25 people and is considering opening offices in Mumbai and Singapore.

OTPP managed around C$191 billion ($144 billion) in assets as of the end of 2018 for 327,000 working and retired teachers.

Mock said China, India, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines were all areas likely to see further investment.

“We plan on growing our European and Asian operations extensively,” said Mock.

“Asia represents a growth opportunity over the next 10-15 years… you can’t just set up on a dime and take down on a dime when you’re investing in private assets like private equity and infrastructure.”

Despite political turmoil in Britain as the country inches closer to leaving the European Union, Mock said London would remain its European base and headcount could rise from around 30 to more than 50 over the next two years.

“London remains, and will remain, our home base for the UK and for Europe,” said Mock.

OTPP said in July that Mock would be replaced on Jan. 1, 2020 as chief executive by Jo Taylor, who has previously led the teams in both Europe and Asia.

Brexit fears have not prompted OTPP to withdraw or postpone investment in Britain, Mock added.

OTPP is set to release its half-year results on Aug. 21.

While much of its money is spread across a range of public and private assets, Mock said OTPP was spending a lot of its time sourcing deals in infrastructure and private equity.

Currently, around 17% of OTPP’s assets are invested in Europe, with around 60% of that – some C$10 billion – in Britain, largely in private assets including lottery operator Camelot and Bristol airport.

Despite being keen to add to its real asset and private equity holdings in Europe and Britain, strong competition from other institutional investors meant securing the best deals was tough.

“It’s not easy, at this point in time, given pricing, particularly in infrastructure and (a) few other spots,” he said, but overall, the allocation to real assets would go up. At the end of December, OTPP’s allocation to real estate, infrastructure and other ‘real-rate’ assets was 25%, or C$49.6 billion.

“We are opening up our asset mix to allow it to range from 26% to 32% of the total fund, and so we will be looking at… probably moving up somewhere in the neighborhood of C$11 billion”.

Reuters 

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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  • 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. 
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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.