One of Canada’s largest pension fund managers has picked London as its new European headquarters, insisting the UK capital “is and will remain the financial centre of Europe”.
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP), which serves the Royal Canadian Mounted Police alongside other civil servants and boasts C$125.8bn (£70.7bn) of assets under management, will today launch a hub in Victoria. PSP said the move signals the fund’s “commitment to Europe”.
The president and chief executive of PSP Andre Bourbonnais told City A.M.: “There is a strong conviction within the senior management team and the board that London is and will remain the financial centre of Europe.
We’re all aware of the possible implications of Brexit. But in our mind with the talent that is here and the fact that London has been the financial centre of Europe for decades, we are committed to it and we think it is the best place for us.
The 28-strong European team will be formed of a mixture of local staff and Canadian ex-pats and will be housed at 10 Bressenden Place.
PSP will leverage London’s talent in private equity and debt investing while harnessing Canadian expertise in infrastructure, Bourbonnais said.
Canadian pension funds are no strangers to the UK with the likes of Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board regularly featuring in deals for airports and other infrastructure assets among others.
PSP has invested in Europe for 10 years from its Ottawa base. It has previously run smaller "business offices" in Montreal, New York, London and Luxembourg.
European investments to date include Cerba HealthCare and a joint venture with Aviva that includes 12 office buildings in Central London.
The fund manages contributions to the pension funds of Canada’s federal public service, the Canadian armed forces, the Royal Canadian mounted police and the reserve force.
Bourbonnais admitted PSP had historically kept itself “under the radar”. He added: “It may have worked when the fund was 30, 40 or 50 billion. Now we are CA$125bn plus if we don’t start controlling our brand, someone else will.”