Oxford Properties, the global property investment wing of one of Canada’s largest pension funds, has upgraded its Asia Pacific leadership as it aims to allocate 25 percent of its portfolio to the region, according to an announcement yesterday.
The division of Canada’s Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) has named David Matheson as its new executive vice president for Asia Pacific, as it divides up a combined Europe and APAC role held by Paul Brundage. Currently managing director and head of Asia Pacific with the fund manager, Matheson assumes his new responsibilities on 1 October.
Oxford, which manages C$60 billion ($45 billion) in assets globally said in its statement that, “The change marks the next stage of Oxford’s plan to transition regional leadership to align with its global growth strategy.”
Little known in Asia three years ago, Oxford has been rapidly ramping up its investments in the region, including taking a 9 percent stake in ESR’s IPO last year. In July of this year the fund manager invested around HK$3.8 billion to purchase an additional 7 percent stake in the logistics developer and fund manager.
Eager for India
Matheson joined Oxford in 2013 from Goldman Sachs, initially to lead its the Canadian organisation’s investment team, with his responsibilities later expanding to include Asia Pacific in 2017.
During his time overseeing Oxford’s APAC business, Matheson led its $1.1 billion investment in ESR, making the pension fund the largest institutional shareholder in the Hong Kong-listed warehouse specialist.
The University of Oxford graduate also toiled down under for Oxford Properties, where he managed over $6.48 billion in deals, including the fund’s $4.4 billion acquisition of the Investa Office Fund portfolio in December 2018.
In addition to his APAC activity, Matheson led the growth and diversification of Oxford’s London holdings, as well as assembling a $1.81 billion Paris portfolio, according to the company statement.
Growing APAC Assets to 25% of Portfolio
With offices in Singapore and Sydney, Oxford currently has around 7 percent of its assets in APAC and in its statement indicated that it intends to boost that allocation to as much as 25 percent.
Beyond its investment in ESR and Aussie office assets, the firm said that it is now seeking to enter the India market. News reports earlier this month placed OMERS in talks with India’s biggest construction firm, Larsen & Toubro Ltd about potentially investing as much as $150 million for a minority stake in the Indian firm’s infrastructure division.
With funds raised by selling off assets from the Investa portfolio, Oxford has also invested in developing the first build-to-rent tower in Sydney’s CBD, above the new PItt Street metro station.
Promotions Also “Come in Threes”
As part of the same announcement revealing Matheson’s move up, Oxford also announced that its current executive bice president for Europe and Asia Pacific, Paul Brundage has been promoted to deputy chair of OMERS.
The fund manager termed the personnel moves as the evolution of its “plan to transition regional leadership to align with its global growth strategy,” and as a response to both the growth and importance of its APAC and European interests.
Taking over top responsibility for the fund’s European portfolio is Joanna McNamara, who has been named executive vice president for Europe.