The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) has opened a 20-person office in London.
OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension funds with a track record of exceptional performance, is weathering the current credit crisis and is taking its secret of success global. OMERS now has a presence in London UK.
To accelerate its expansion into private market investments and to take the next step in establishing a global footprint, a new London office has been established at 6 New Street Square under the OMERS Worldwide brand.
The OMERS pension fund has been ranked in the top quartile of Canadian pension funds in each of the last three years driven by solid returns in private market investments. The fund ended 2007 with net investment assets of C$52 billion.
“We are weathering the current market crisis largely because we were an early believer in shifting large amounts of capital from public to private markets,” explained OMERS President and CEO, Michael Nobrega. “Our substantial private market assets have gone a long way toward partially offsetting the volatility and negative performance of public securities.”
At December 31, 2007 OMERS had 30% of its net investment assets in real estate, private equity and infrastructure, compared with the 9% average invested in alternative assets by large North American and European pension funds. “Our long term goal is to invest 42.5% of our net investment assets in private markets on a global basis,” Mr. Nobrega said.
OMERS Worldwide will leverage the depth and breadth of OMERS active asset management expertise. “Pension funds and sovereign wealth funds that share our prudent and responsible investment philosophy want access to our management teams and assets,” he continued. “We want access to large-scale opportunities and co-investment capital around the world. Locating in London expedites the process and enables us to dip into the local talent pool for professionals with global vision.”
OMERS has $5 billion of capital interests in real estate and infrastructure assets in the United Kingdom. These investments have an enterprise value exceeding $10 billion and include Associated British Ports, Scotia Gas Networks, and the Watermark Place office complex being developed in London.
“Our real estate and infrastructure professionals are in touch with several billions of dollars of new investments that we cannot prudently afford on our own,” Mr. Nobrega said. “We need agreements with co-investors who want what we want – – large-scale assets that generate hundreds of millions of dollars of reliable cash flow annually for many years to come.”
The London office will have a 20 member team, including OMERS investment professionals in real estate, infrastructure, private equity and capital markets. As relationships are formed and new investment opportunities are discovered, OMERS Worldwide will open offices in other global regions.
OMERS has four investment arms under the OMERS Worldwide banner:
Oxford Properties Group, a 40-year-old company that oversees and manages $16 billion of real estate for OMERS and on behalf of its co-owners and investment partners;
Borealis Infrastructure, a 10-year-old pioneer that has developed with other investors a portfolio of infrastructure assets with an enterprise value of over $25 billion, including a nuclear power plant, marine ports, a satellite company, oil and gas pipelines and health-care diagnostic services;
OMERS Private Equity, managing $3.6 billion of assets in global funds as well as direct interests in private companies; and
OMERS Capital Markets with exposure of $37 billion to fixed income and equity investments in financial markets around the world.
OMERS is one of Canada’s largest pension plans, with investments in a wide range of companies and assets around the world. OMERS provides retirement benefits to 380,000 members on behalf of over 900 different employers in the province of Ontario, Canada.
Learn more about OMERS and OMERS Worldwide at www.omers.com