India’s markets a priority target for Ontario Teachers' and CDPQ

Canadian pension funds are finding a rich seam of investment in India, boosting their allocation across asset classes.
India’s markets a priority target for Ontario Teachers' and CDPQ

Ontario Teachers’ has become the third Canadian pension fund and the sixth foreign state-owned investor to set up shop in India — targeting investment opportunites across all asset classes in the region.

“India is an attractive investment destination with a large and growing economy. We have been investing in India for more than a decade and hold a portfolio of public and private assets totaling more than C$3 billion (INR 18,374 crore) across equities, infrastructure, and capital markets,” Ben Chan, executive managing director, Asia Pacific for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan told AsianInvestor.

Despite already being active in the region, the Canadian pension fund with $178.5 billion (C$242.5 billion) in assets under management announced the opening of its Mumbai office on September 27 to improve its origination of deals and better establish local partnerships through an on-the-ground team.

Ben Chan,
Ontario Teachers'

“The office further enhances our existing capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. Ontario Teachers’ has more than 65 employees and approximately $20 billion invested in Asia-Pacific across asset classes,” said Chan.

India is a large, growing and dynamic economy that offers diverse opportunities across asset classes, said Chan.  

“It is one of the key growth markets we are focused on as part of our strategy to reach C$300 billion in assets by 2030,” he said.

“We will target investments in India across all asset classes, including public and private equities, infrastructure, real estate, credit and venture and growth equity.”

In its official announcement, Ontario Teachers’ named Deepak Dara as senior managing director and head of India and will take on this role in early 2023.

“Deepak brings a wealth of experience to the role. In particular, he has played a key role in advancing our India strategy, ambitions on climate action and five-year investment strategy. He will also be the culture carrier in the new office and be able to facilitate connectivity with our other offices given his prior experience in the CIO Office,” said Chan.


The Ontario Teachers' has joined its fellow Canadian public pension funds CPP Investments and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) in establishing a local team in India. Other foreign state-owned investors with a base of operations in the emerging market heavyweight include Singapore’s Temasek, Malaysia’s Khazanah and Singapore’s GIC.

In 2016, CDPQ opened its office in New Delhi, the largest economic and financial centre in the country’s northern region and India`s national capital.

“Our team on the ground has deep knowledge of the market and works with the best local partners – with a focus on infrastructure and renewable energy – and we have grown our presence to $7 billion of investments in the country as of December 31, 2021,” a representative from CDPQ told AsianInvestor.

Infrastructure has been the main target for sovereign investors seeking opportunities in India with more than $19.4 billion having been allocated to the asset class since 2016.

GIC is the leading state investor into India’s infrastructure and has contributed 23% of the total foreign capital, followed by CPP Investments with 15%, CDPQ with 10%, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority at 8%, Dubai World with 8%, PSP Investments at 6%, and Temasek and the Ontario Teacher’s both contributing 5% each, according to data from Global SWF.

CDPQ is the fourth biggest state investor into India’s infrastructure, and sees the region as a priority market given its long-term growth potential driven by factors including a favorable demographic outlook and strong entrepreneurial culture, said the fund’s spokesperson.

“These factors combined with a demand for sustainable infrastructure where we are a world leader with over 20 years of experience,” they said.

The Quebec-based fund with $288.4 billion (C$392 billion) in assets under management has also been making a deliberate push to grow CDPQ’s portfolio in key sectors such as digital infrastructure, mobility and the energy transition across Asia Pacific and India is a huge part of this push.

“These investments represent our constructive capital approach – which helps determine the partners we choose, the industries we focus on and the companies we ultimately invest in,” said the spokesperson.

“We operate with a constructive mindset because it is the best and safest path to the steady, reliable returns that long-term capital needs and we see India – and the broader APAC region – as countries with many exciting opportunities,” they said.

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