Canada appoints investor Leech as adviser for infrastructure bank

Canada has appointed veteran pension executive Jim Leech as a special adviser for its new infrastructure bank, which has been set up to facilitate private investment in such projects as new roads and bridges.

The Liberal government has been courting Canada’s biggest public pension funds and overseas investors such as sovereign wealth funds, as it wants to attract between C$4 to C$5 for every dollar of public funds invested in new projects.

“This is about making sure our public dollars go farther and are used smarter,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday in a statement announcing Leech’s appointment.

Leech retired in 2014 as chief executive officer of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which had pioneered a model of directly investing in infrastructure, real estate and other alternatives to equities and bonds.

Leech was CEO of the fund for seven years. He previously headed its private capital arm, where he oversaw growth in private equity, venture capital and infrastructure investments from C$2 billion in 2001 to C$20 billion in 2007.