Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest institutional fund managers, is planning to open a new office in London.
The pension confirmed to Private Equity International that it is seeking to establish a new location in the UK, with a view to manage its existing investments and seek new opportunities in European markets. Reports have suggested the move could be completed within the next six months, with staff coming over from Canada as well as a number of new recruits.
“We have a significant amount of European business. To make it easier to manage existing holdings and new initiatives we plan to open a London office in the near future,” commented Leo de Bever, CEO of AIMCo.
We have a significant amount of European business. To make it easier to manage existing holdings and new initiatives we plan to open a London office in the near future
Leo de Bever
The Edmonton-headquartered fund, which manages nearly CAD $70 billion (€52 billion, $69 billion) of sovereign wealth and pension assets, has initiated a shift from funds and co-investments to investing directly in portfolio companies. It opened a Toronto office in 2009 with a small team with experience in direct investing, to complement the capabilities of its Edmonton-based staff.
The pension’s name came to the fore in 2010, when it placed a takeover bid for now-defunct Candover. The buyout talks ended up being scrapped, forcing the ailing GP to wind down its activities. Its legacy assets are now managed by Arle Capital Partners, which was established in 2011 following the management buyout of Candover.
The latest geographical expansion by AIMCo adds to a number of London bases set up by large Canadian pension funds over the last decade: Omers Private Equity, the buyout arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, opened its UK office in 2009; Ontario’s Teachers’ Private Capital established its formal UK presence in 2007. It also appointed the venture capital chief at 3i, Jo Taylor, to head its London office last year.
Both systems have since then proven active in the market. OMERS bought care group Lifeways for a reported £207 million (€245 million, $322 million) last year, after its $520 million acquisition of ship management business V Group in 2011. Teachers' Private Capital invested €500 million in Danish business services firm ISS in 2012.