Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (Omers) has named Kannan Venkataramani as head of global equities, as the Canadian fund moves to reorganise, ramp up and internationalise its capital markets capabilities.

Venkataramani, who led the buildout of Omers' billion-dollar Asia equity portfolio, will be based in New York and report to Ralph Berg, Omers’s new global head of capital markets, according to an internal memo seen by AsianInvestor

His role has been newly created following a reorganisation of the team, a source familiar with Omers told AsianInvestor. It is understood that the appointment is part of London-based Berg's mandate to further internationalise the Omers programme and facilitate more global investment via local teams. 

Kannan Venkataramani:
Moving up

Venkataramani will be responsible for leading and developing an equity investment team for the C$105 billion ($84 billion) fund, of which capital market assets account for 54% (31% in equities and 23% fixed income).

Adelaide Chiu, Hakim Ben Aissa, Mike Popowych, Scott Vali and Adam Kim – all equity investment professionals based in Toronto – now report to Venkataramani, following the appointment. 

“In leading the global equities programme, Kannan will deploy a strategy focusing on hand-picked quality assets using a disciplined and consistent approach, aligned with capital markets investment objectives and risk tolerance,” Berg said in the memo.

Omers has not yet picked a replacement for Venkataramani, a spokesman told AsianInvestor.

SWIFT RISE

Omers had hired Venkataramani in 2019 as a managing director in Singapore, as one of the first members of the Asia capital markets team it set up that year under Ashish Goyal. The desk is now around seven-strong.

Ralph Berg: New
capital markets head

“Kannan quickly established himself as a trusted global partner and strong people leader, assuming accountability for the newly onboarded and growing Asia equity team in 2020,” said Berg in the memo.

A Singapore-based recruiter said: “[Kannan] has done really well under Ashish [Goyal].”

Berg also took up his new role this month, having previously been global head of infrastructure. Annesley Wallace, Omers' former chief pension officer, replaced him in that role.

Ken Miner was previously Toronto-based global head of capital markets and has now left the firm, a spokesman told AsianInvestor.

Berg had joined Omers in early 2013 and has spent eight years with the infrastructure team, including six as its global head.

These appointments come at a time when Omers – and other big Canadian retirement funds – are fast expanding their headcounts in Asia as they seek to tap investment opportunities in the region.

Between them, Omers, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan are recruiting for at least 26 staff in the region across both public and private asset classes.