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OMERS establishes first foreign office in London

The C$52bn Canadian pension plan with an in-house private equity arm has followed in the footsteps of Ontario Teachers’ and the CPPIB by crossing the pond to source deals.

The Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System has opened an office in London to access “large-scale opportunities and co-investment capital around the world” according to OMERS president and chief executive officer, Michael Nobrega.

The 20-strong London team will seek opportunities to team with other pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. “Locating in London expedites the process and enables us to dip into the local talent pool for professionals with global vision,” said Nobrega in a statement.

OMERS’ substantial holdings in private equity and infrastructure assets have helped offset the volatility and negative performance of public securities, Nobrega added.

AT the close of 2007, OMERS held 30 percent of its net investments in real estate, private equity and infrastructure, and the fund has a long-term goal of investing 42.5 percent in the private markets on a global basis.

The London office has been established at 6 New Street Square under the OMERS Worldwide brand.

OMERS has four alternative investment arms, which include OMERS Private Equity, with $3.6 billion of assets under management, and Borealis Infrastructure, which manages $25 billion in assets.

OMERS is one of Canada's largest public pension plans, with more than C$52 billion in net assets invested on behalf of approximately 380,000 active and retired municipal employees and more than 900 local government employees in Toronto.

The fund joins fellow Canadian pensions with active private equiry arms Ontario’s Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, which have also established presences in London.