OPTrust opens Sydney office

The $13.7 billion Canadian pension fund plans to invest $600m in Asian private equity and infrastructure over the next few years.

The Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Trust (OPTrust) has opened its first Asian office in Sydney, which will focus on regional investments in private equity and infrastructure, according to Stan Kolenc, managing director of OPTrust, who will head the Sydney office.

OPTrust has transferred three professionals to Sydney, all dedicated to investments in both private equity and infrastructure. The fund now hopes to invest $600 million in each of the asset classes over the next two to three years, Kolenc told Private Equity International. 

OPTrust currently has 45 percent of its portfolio dedicated to alternatives, with a view to have 80 percent of those assets in North America and Europe, with 20 percent in Asia.

In private equity, OPTrust focuses mostly on building long-term relationships with its core GPs and has placed a strong emphasis on co-investing with these funds, Kolenc added. With the establishment of the new Asia Pacific presence, OPTrust is hoping to increase its number of GP relationships in the region, particularly in emerging Asia.

“We like to be on the ground for the execution of deals and management of assets,” Kolenc explained.

In infrastructure, OPTrust will be focusing solely on direct investing in projects in developed Asia, mostly Australia and New Zealand, he added.  

Before opening the Sydney office, OPTrust had invested just under $200 million in Asian private equity and $100 million in Asian infrastructure, including some port developments in Queensland. The fund’s assets are in various stages of development, and it has already built a pipeline in the region, according to Kolenc.

Formed in 2005, OPTrust manages the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union pension plan. It invests, manages, and administers the pension plan's assets for its 82,000 beneficiaries. The fund currently has $13.7 billion in assets under management and first invested in private equity in 2006, according to PEI’s Research & Analytics division.