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Ontario Dreams of Creating Two Mega Pension Funds

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Dwight Duncan

Dwight Duncan

The Canadian province of Ontario is debating the development of two mega pension funds to manage the retirement savings of public sector workers. To be clear, no formal policy decisions have been made by Ontario officials. In theory, the two mega funds would manage C$ 60 billion in pension assets, with one managing C$ 46 billion. These proposed funds would rank behind the massive Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS).

Upon hearing the news, some pensioners and labor groups in Ontario are pushing back. Many of the pension plans are underfunded and believe mashing them together won’t fix insolvency issues. In addition, some pensioners may have to contribute more. On the other hand, some people agree that consolidation can work, especially if you look at OMERS and OTPP’s investment returns compared to smaller pensions.

In the past four years, many Canadian public fund investors began modifying investment strategies to cope with a low-yield environment, thus embracing alternatives like real estate, infrastructure, and private equity. Higher interest rates have been scuttled away with easy money policy actions by the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve.

Pension expenses are exerting unduly strain on government finances.

A pooling of assets, similar to what OMERS and OTPP accomplished could be a model to reduce administrative costs and have stronger purchasing power when it comes to finding investment managers or assets. Investing in real estate and private equity, especially on a direct basis requires substantial in-house capabilities. Smaller public funds do not have the scale to develop these systems, thus relying more on consultants and external managers. In addition, smaller funds in Canada have been slow to make the change, due to the challenge of finding suitable alternative investments and monitoring asset performance.

Why Did Virtus Investment Partners Buy Sustainable Growth Advisers?

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On February 2, 2018, Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. revealed they acquired a 70% interest in Stamford, CT-based Sustainable Growth Advisers, LP, a high-conviction U.S. and global growth equity portfolio management company, from private equity firm Estancia Capital Management and a portion of equity held by the asset manager’s partners (including Sustainable Growth Advisers’ three co-founders). Scottsdale, Arizona-based Estancia Capital Management bought a minority interest in Sustainable Growth Advisers in August 2013 when it had US$ 5.3 billion in assets. Estancia Capital Management is noted for having a number of partners being from Lovell Minnick Partners LLC, a private equity firm specializing in asset management company buyouts.

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HKMA and TRS Participates in Investment in Kakao Mobility

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Private equity firm TPG led a group of investors to acquire a minority ownership stake in Kakao Mobility Corporation, a South Korean taxi hailing service provider. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Meraas Holding Names Former KIO Executive as CEO

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Osama Al-Ayoub, the former CEO and President of the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO), was hired by property firm Meraas Holding to be its chief executive officer. KIO is a London-based unit of the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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