Ontario Teachers' fund plans Asia office, building 10-member team

Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:52pm EST
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By Stephen Aldred

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a leading Canadian pension fund, plans to open its first Asia office next year in Hong Kong, with as many as 10 staff, a source with knowledge of the matter said, as it targets higher returns from direct investments in the region.

Teachers' is one of the world's largest investors into private equity firms, and is increasingly active in direct investing in deals, and the move to set up only its second office outside Canada underscores the significance of Asia to influential pension fund managers.

Teachers' president and CEO Jim Leech said in a statement on Thursday the fund was in the preliminary planning stages of opening an Asian regional office in Hong Kong.

"Given the global nature of our business and the increasing importance of the Asian region to our fund, it is logical that we have a location there," said Leech.

Teachers', Canada's largest single-profession pension administrator, had $117.1 billion in net assets under management at the end of 2011.

It has struck some deals in Asia this year on its own, apart from ploughing money into buyout funds. The fund invested alongside Unitas Capital in New Zealand Yellow Pages in 2007.

Teachers' plans to move Raju Ruparelia, an Ontario-based portfolio manager and former investment banker with Credit Suisse, to head its Asia office which will be based in Alexandra House, in the heart of the island city's Central Business District, according to a second source.

Ruparelia is a manager for Teachers' Private Capital, the private equity investment arm of Ontario Teachers'.   Continued...