Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) opens its new Singapore office in Asia Square 2 today (September 21) and has also added to its late-stage venture capital and global strategic relationship teams in the region, according to a release seen by AsianInvestor.
The C$205 billion ($155.31 billion) Canadian fund’s new branch – its second in Asia – will house Bruce Crane, its newly hired regional head of infrastructure, and desks for high-conviction equities and private capital direct investing.
OTPP also expects its real estate investment arm, Cadillac Fairview, to start placing staff in the region this year, Asia managing director Ben Chan told AsianInvestor in February.
“In the coming months we will look to grow our capabilities and further build on our pool of talent in Asia Pacific,” Chan said on the launch of the Singapore branch. “Supported by the expertise and resources of our Ontario Teachers’ global network, we will move quickly and decisively on investment and partnership opportunities.”
OTPP recently added the first member of staff in its Hong Kong office for its Teachers’ Innovation Platform. The team focuses on late-stage venture and growth equity investments in companies that use disruptive technology. The fund did not identify the individual.
In addition, OTPP is adding a local senior member of its global strategic relationships department. This individual, whom the institution did not identify, will cultivate key partnerships in the region – which Chan has previously stressed to AsianInvestor as being crucial to how it operates.
The fund has some 30 employees and around $15 billion invested in Asia Pacific across public equity, private equity and infrastructure, as of December 31.
The new Singapore office will target investments across India, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, with the Hong Kong office, set up in 2013, continuing to focus on North Asia.
OTPP’s Asia Pacific infrastructure and natural resources team, led by Crane, would be based in Singapore, “given its proximity to the growth opportunities in India, Asean, Australia and New Zealand”, said the release.
More branches may be in the offing too. Jo Taylor, OTPP’s chief executive since January, told AsianInvestor in April last year that he expected the fund to add further offices, potentially in Australia and India.
Such moves come as other large Canadian retirement funds continue with their similarly bold expansion plans in Asia, despite the challenging geopolitical and macroeconomic environment. Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are both moving to build up their capital markets desks in the region, to add to their regional pool of investment talent.
Other large Western pension funds are also working to set up or expand presences in Asia. For instance, Dutch retirement asset manager APG last year opened its first offices in mainland China, while the Teacher Retirement System of Texas is planning to open a branch in Singapore, its first in the region.