OMERS’ Ralph Berg to take lead of capital markets group

Annesley Wallace will replace Berg as head of the C$109bn Canadian pension’s infrastructure group.

A leadership reshuffle at the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System will see the global head of the Canadian pension fund’s infrastructure group Ralph Berg take over management of its capital markets business.

Berg will replace Ken Miner as OMERS’ global head of capital markets when Miner retires on 1 April, a spokesperson for the pension fund said. Berg will oversee OMERS’ public markets investments, which account for over half of its C$109 billion ($85.3 billion; €70.2 billion) in net assets as of 31 December, 2019.

Annesley Wallace, chief pension officer for OMERS’ 500,000 members, will take the reins from Berg as global head of the C$21 billion infrastructure group, the firm said. Wallace joined OMERS in 2012 as a director in the infrastructure group, after leaving a vice-president role at Montreal-based construction company SNC-Lavalin. She also sits on the board of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and the government procurement agency Infrastructure Ontario, as well as on the board of its portfolio company Bruce Power.

Blake Hutcheson, the pension fund’s chief executive, described the leadership changes as “integral to achieving” OMERS’ growth plans, while Satish Rai, the chief investment officer, noted that “big data and digital innovation” will be an important part of the infrastructure strategy moving forward.

Berg joined the OMERS infrastructure team in 2013 after a stint in a managing director role at Credit Suisse. He was promoted to lead the group two years later. During his tenure, the infrastructure portfolio has expanded its footprint to South America, Asia and Australia, and expanded its portfolio to include airports, toll roads and telecommunications assets.

He also helped to create and lead the Global Strategic Investment Alliance, a co-investment programme that turned OMERS into not only a direct investor but also a manager of capital.

In a 2019 feature about OMERS’ GSIA programme, Berg told Infrastructure Investor: “We learned a lot from managing a pool of third-party capital, which helped us secure large investments, optimise the flow of opportunities and capture a larger share of them. But it’s not just external facing – it’s also helped us evolve and capture best practices internally and for our investors.”

The personnel reshuffle follows the departure of Singapore-based managing director Bruce Crane from OMERS’ infrastructure group last August. Crane is helping Canadian pension rival Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan establish an Asia-Pacific office in that city.