China ‘absolutely necessary’ for Ontario Teachers’, CEO says

China ‘absolutely necessary’ for Ontario Teachers’, CEO says

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has a long-term plan for China that’s unlikely to be derailed by political tensions, its chief executive officer said.

“China’s a long game from our perspective and while there’s always skirmishes of one kind or another, in the short term, we believe that it’s absolutely necessary to be there,” Ron Mock said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The fund invests a lot in technology in China which is very different than doing so North America, he said.

Mock’s comments come as relations between Canada and China are at one of the most strained in their history. Canada is holding Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. in Vancouver at the request of the U.S. who want to extradite her while China has detained two Canadians and sentenced a third to death on a drug charge.

The Toronto-based fund is Canada’s third-biggest pension plan, with about $194 billion (US$145 billion) in assets, and oversees the retirement savings of 323,000 retired and working teachers in the province.

OTPP is also ready to invest billions of dollars in Brazil now that the worst seems to be behind for the Latin American country, Mock said. Brazil plans to sell a large number of state-owned companies are nearly ready, President Jair Bolsonaro said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday in Davos. Sales will include airports and ports, he said.

“Those kinds of things don’t come on the market very often. And if it’s the right asset with the right partners, we’re not shy about moving into it,” Mock said. “It could be billions or tens of billions in some cases, let’s just say it could be billions.”

Mock said that OTPP’s assets in Brazil have “performed extremely well” and that he has teams on the ground and that the opportunity set is starting to pick up.

–With assistance from Erik Schatzker.

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