HUNGRY Canadian pension funds have been escalating their acquisition of US and European assets since the emergence of the global financial crisis made them attractive and well-funded investors.
Canadian pension plans hold an estimated 5 per cent of the world’s pension fund assets, backed by what analysts have referred to as a “dying breed” of triple A rated currency, the Canadian dollar.
The two biggest are the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) with $183.3 billion (£115.7bn) of assets under management (AUM) and its Quebecois version, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, with $176.2bn AUM. Both are funded by mandatory employee and employer contributions. In 2010, CPPIB joined forces with Canadian venture capitalist Onex in the £2.9bn buyout of British industrial group Tomkins.
The top five Canadian funds include the $129bn Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which owns stakes in airports in Bristol and Birmingham as well as the high speed rail link to the Channel Tunnel, acquired as part of a consortium for £2.1bn in 2010.
The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (Omers) owns infrastructure investor Borealis, which acquired the stake in Vue and is chasing a deal to acquire Severn Trent. Omers also owns a stake in the Scotia Gas Network and recently acquired the Lifeways care homes business in the UK through its private equity arm.
The Alberta Investment Management Corp, AimCo, manages assets worth $70bn on behalf of public sector employees in the oil-rich province.