OMERS eyes EM opportunities with Singapore office

The Canadian pension wants to make more direct investments and find investment partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System will open an outpost in Singapore in January 2018 in a bid to expand its emerging markets portfolio.

The Singapore office will be staffed by investment professionals representing capabilities in private equity, real estate, capital markets and infrastructure and it is expected to complement the existing Sydney office which is run by OMERS Infrastructure.

Michael Rolland, chief investment officer of OMERS Private Markets, has been appointed to lead the development of the Singapore office.

“Bringing the OMERS presence to Singapore is part of a multi-year strategy being carried out by OMERS to identify promising investment opportunities in emerging markets,” the Canadian pension fund noted in a statement, adding that it wants to further diversify its global holdings.

Private Equity International understands the investor will announce its strategy for the region in the first quarter of 2018.

Canada made up 40 percent of OMERS’ holdings, followed by the US at 37 percent, Europe at 17 percent and the rest of the world at 6 percent. It had more than C$85 billion ($67 billion; €56 billion) in net assets at the end of last year.

“The opening of the Singapore office demonstrates the potential we see in the Asia-Pacific region, both from the perspective of making direct investment and from cultivating new investment partners,” said Michael Latimer, president and chief executive of OMERS. “It is the logical next step in evolving our international footprint.”

OMERS is joining other Canadian institutions which have set up their outposts in the pan-Asia region. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has established its presence in Hong Kong and Mumbai, while Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec also runs its Asia-Pacific hub from Singapore, in addition to its Shanghai and Sydney offices. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan opened its Hong Kong office in 2013.

– Carmela Mendoza contributed to this report.