CANADA - Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) has purchased a new asset management business as part of its plans to expand into the energy sector in Western Canada.

OMERS Strategic Investments, a subsidiary of the C$52bn (€36.7bn) Canadian pension fund, has completed the purchase of Guard Resources Ltd. and is to invest up to C$600m of its equity in the oil and gas sectors.

Guard Resources currently provides management services to OMERS Energy Inc. and has been associated to the pension fund since 1984. The business will now operate under OMERS Energy Services LP but will maintain its employees, assets and management contracts.

OMERS Energy Services plans to purchase assets through competitive bids and private sales and will focus on properties where it can obtain operational control.

OMERS has also announced the appointment of Gordon Phillips, previously president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Guard Resources, as the new president and CEO of OMERS Energy Services LP.

Michael Nobrega, president and CEO of OMERS, said: "Gordon and his team have generated annual investment returns greater than 20% over the past 10 years and we have a long-standing relationship that made a deal a natural fit for our direct-drive asset management strategy."

OMERS Strategic Investments aims to develop co-investment relationships to invest in private companies worldwide like airports, real estate developments and energy projects.

OMERS currently allocates 12.5% to real estate and 20% to infrastructure. Oxford Properties Group manages the pension fund's real estate investments and has approximately C$16bn real estate assets it oversees for itself and its co-owners and investment partners.

The pension fund's remaining long-term asset mix is made up of 42.5% public equity, 10% private equity, 10% interest-bearing and 5% real return bonds.

OMERS is one of the largest Canadian pension funds, providing retirement benefits to over 380,000 members.

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