Goldman vet joins CPPIB to head its Asia presence

Mark Machin has been appointed president of CPPIB Asia, as the Canadian pension plan looks to enhance its investment activities, including that of real estate, in the region.

As part of its plan to expand its investment activities in the Asia-Pacific region, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has hired a 20-year Goldman Sachs veteran to head up its Asia division. According to a statement released by the C$152.8 billion ($153.42 billion, €116.63 billion) pension fund, Mark Machin has been appointed president of CPPIB Asia.

Effective 19 March, Machin will begin his new post, where he will be responsible for the development of CPPIB's investment strategy and programmes, including real estate, throughout the Asia-Pacific region, in partnership with the rest of CPPIB's senior management team. He will be based out of CPPIB's Hong Kong office, which has a 20-strong investment team focussed on opportunities in the region.

“There are compelling long-term growth opportunities in Asia, and Mark's appointment demonstrates CPPIB's commitment to investment in this geography,” CPPIB president and chief executive officer David Denison said in a statement.

“Joining a global investment organization of CPPIB's stature is a significant opportunity,” added Machin. “I have been impressed by the calibre of the organisation's investment team. Asia is a dynamic and vibrant market, and I look forward to the expansion of CPPIB's investment activities in this region.”

Prior to joining CPPIB, Mark spent 20 years at Goldman Sachs in a number of senior financial positions in London, Hong Kong and Beijing. Most recently, he served as vice chairman for Asia ex-Japan, leading the firm’s investment banking business and participating in many of the largest equity offerings and privatisations in the region.

“In his nearly 20 years in Asia, Mark has developed extensive leadership and investment skills, as well as strong relationships within the Asian investment and corporate communities,” said Mark Wiseman, CPPIB's executive vice president of investments. “I am delighted to have Mark bring his deep knowledge of the region to CPPIB to help lead our investment efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, while strengthening our relationships with new and existing partners.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, Wiseman noted that the CPPIB is broadening is investment in real estate, with an enhanced focus on China, Australia, India and Japan.

In addition, CPPIB also has retained Vikram Gandhi and his new firm, VSG Capital Advisors (VSG), as senior advisors, effective 1 March. Based in India and Hong Kong, VSG will provide strategic advice and develop and facilitate investment opportunities for CPPIB in the Indian subcontinent. Prior to founding VSG, Gandhi was the global head of the financial institutions group and vice chairman of the investment banking department at Credit Suisse. He also spent 16 years at Morgan Stanley in various roles, including president and country head for Morgan Stanley India.

As of 31 December, CPPIB had C$13.1 billion in public equity, real estate and private investments in Asia, including Australia.