Canada’s OTPP names Jeff Davis general counsel

04 August 2014   Category: News, Global, Canada   By Daniel Shane

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), the Canadian pension fund with about C$140.8 billion (US$129.72 billion) in AUM, has named Jeff Davis is its new general counsel.

Mr. Davis, who the OTPP described as being “instrumental” in setting up the pension fund’s Hong Kong office last year, will also take up the roles of corporate secretary and senior vice president of corporate affairs on a full-time basis.

He has been with the OTPP for ten years, and had been acting general counsel since June this year. His responsibilities will include legal, compliance, corporate communications, government and public affairs, as well as plan policy.

“Jeff is highly regarded for his skills and knowledge, and especially for his natural sense of partnership,” OTPP president and chief executive officer, Ron Mock, said. “He was worked closely with regulatory authorities in Canada, the US, and internationally, and has led the legal team in countless transactions globally.”

When the OTPP opened its first overseas office in Hong Kong in 2013, Mr. Davis was responsible for obtaining securities licences and registrations.

He has previously held senior roles at InsLogic Corp and Torys LLP.

In May this year, the OTPP said that it will seek to almost double its assets in Asia-Pacific to C$20 billion in the next three years.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Mr. Mock said that the OTPP, whose members include 307,000 active and retired teachers, had hired seven private equity firms in the region since launching its Hong Kong office last year. Among those seven, it has allocated between US$100 million and US$600 million each, Mr. Mock said.

Mr. Mock explained that the OTPP was more interested in hiring fund managers with specialist knowledge of individual countries in the region, rather than those that offered a pan-Asia strategy.

"We think it is most important to find deals where we have deep partnerships with the governments and investment professionals with deep local knowledge," he told the newspaper. "We believe those relationships will translate into investment opportunities and better pricing, which is our edge when investing for the long term."

OTPP’s investments in the region include a US$2.3 billion co-investment with Hastings Funds Management in a desalination plant in New South Wales, and HK$1.3 billion (US$168 million) in investments in Macau casino and hotel firm Louis XIII.

It also has stakes in Hong Kong jewellery giant Chow Tai Fook and Jingdong Mall, a mainland Chinese ecommerce firm.