Canadian pension giant loses senior private equity executive

Karen Frank, who joined OTPP from Barclays Private Bank in 2020, is set to leave in December, Private Equity International has learned.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is parting ways with a senior investment executive whose duties include overseeing the Canadian pension giant’s private equity portfolio.

Karen Frank, global head of equities at Toronto-headquartered OTPP, is set to leave after a little over two years at the pension, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Frank will leave after 2 December, a spokesperson for OTPP confirmed to Private Equity International. It is unclear where Frank is headed next and who her replacement will be.

“Under Karen’s leadership over the past two years, our equities business has delivered impressive performance and further elevated a strong bench of talent. We are well positioned to continue our forward momentum and wish Karen the best going forward,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Frank has been responsible for a team of more than 140 professionals globally who invested across the equities spectrum including in direct private capital, high conviction public equities and allocations to private equity and other investment vehicles, according to her LinkedIn.

She oversees assets for the equities group that were worth C$75.8 billion ($55.7 billion; €55.5 billion) as of end-June, 73 percent of which were in private equity.

OTPP is the 10th-largest investor in private equity globally, with 23 percent of its total AUM exposed to the asset class, according to the GI 100. It has $43.4 billion-worth of private equity exposure as of the end of last year and is the third-highest ranked Canadian pension after CPP Investments and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Speaking to affiliate title Buyouts in May, Frank noted that OTPP is more a very big GP today than an LP.

“We’re humble Canadians,” she said. “We don’t pound our chest. We try to be very sound, very reliable investors who think about what best-in-class looks like and who do a good job.”

She also noted that OTPP is “an active investor with fungible capital”, which means it can invest flexibly across strategies, either independently or with fund partners and other like-minded investors.

OTPP’s PE assets reached C$55.3 billion as of end-June and accounted for 23 percent of total assets. OTPP. It seeks to grow assets to C$300 billion by 2030, from C$243 billion.

Frank joined OTPP from Barclays Private Bank, where she was chief executive for four years. Previously, she was a managing director for investment banking at Goldman Sachs.

– Adam Le contributed to this report.