Ontario Teachers to open Hong Kong office

OTPP, the Canadian pension fund, has revealed it will establish an office in Hong Kong from 2013, as North American LPs ramp up their Asia capabilities.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will open an office in Hong Kong next year, which will serve as its regional office for Asia Pacific, according to a spokeswoman from the firm. Plans are still at an early stage, she said, so OTPP is unable to provide further details. 

The move comes at a time when North American LPs are increasing their investment activities in Asia and doing more direct deals. 

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board plans to grow its nine-strong investment team in Hong Kong, a source close to the LP told PE Asia. CPPIB opened its Hong Kong office in 2008 and in February this year appointed Goldman Sachs veteran Mark Machin as president of CPPIB Asia. 

The firm plans to increase its direct investments in the region, in particular China, PE Asia’s source explained. “In China, CPPIB has mostly invested through private equity funds, although it is hoping to make more direct private equity investments in the future.”

OTPP’s private equity arm has also been active in Asia recently. In June, the $113 billion pension fund acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Kyobo Life Insurance for $400 million, PE Asia reported earlier. The deal was its first direct investment into Korea, taking the stake from Korea Asset Management Corporation. 

Later, in August, an investor group made up of private equity firms Affinity Equity Partners, Baring Private Equity Asia and local Korean firm IMM Private Equity, joined by sovereign wealth fund the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, took a 24 percent stake in the business for $1.06 billion. 

Asia is also keen to tap into resources coming from North America. In July, an announcement from the Philippines PPP Center said that “huge, untapped resources from the Canadian retirement industry are currently being eyed” for investment in the country’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme. The announcement followed a trip to Canada by a Philippines delegation headed by the country’s foreign affairs secretary, Albert del Rosario.