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How Canada’s funds went from local pioneers to global leaders

Photo: Getty

Groups such as Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, CDPQ and British Columbia Investment were forerunners in the development of new private-market asset classes, particularly infrastructure. Euromoney traces the evolution of the funds’ approaches and scale to the point where they are desired partners for private assets worldwide.

Euromoney is driving around Toronto on a highway so revered by infrastructure investment specialists one would think it were the Road to Damascus rather than the Road to Clarington, Ontario.

This is the 407, and it’s a fairly dull drive, if truth be told. But in the late 1990s it represented the birth of an asset class, helping to catalyze a sense that had been mounting for some time that Canada’s pension and sovereign wealth funds were among the most innovative in the world. A quarter of a century on, they still are, not only investing in new fields but helping to invent them in the first place.

There is a clear line from the Province of Ontario’s sale of the 407 to a private sector consortium in 1999, to a level of sophistication and heft that we see time and again today. It’s visible in CDPQ investing $5 billion in DP World’s Dubai assets, for example, not through some third-party fund or a consortium but in its own name.


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Chris Wright head.jpg
Asia editor Euromoney
Chris Wright is Asia editor. He covers the Asia Pacific region and is based in Singapore. He has previously been Middle East editor of Euromoney, editor of Asiamoney, investment editor of the Australian Financial Review and a correspondent on emerging markets and sovereign wealth for numerous publications worldwide. He has also written two books.