OMERS taps infra vet Annesley Wallace as chief pension officer

Wallace is replacing Blake Hutcheson, as he transitions to chief executive of the C$97bn Canadian pension fund, according to an internal memo.

The Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System has named a former managing director for its infrastructure group, Annesley Wallace, to serve as its next chief pension officer.

Wallace, a managing director of infrastructure at OMERS from 2016 to 2018, is being promoted into a position that will be vacated by Blake Hutcheson, who is set to lead the C$97 billion ($74.4 billion; €66.7 billion) pension fund as chief executive on 1 June, according to an internal memo seen by Infrastructure Investor. Wallace’s new role begins immediately.

In the memo, Hutcheson describes Wallace’s time at OMERS’ infrastructure group, which also includes nearly four years as senior vice-president of the investment arm at the time called Borealis Infrastructure, as “proven and accomplished”. She was a leader in investing, value creation, and at reframing existing assets to capitalise on new opportunities, he wrote.

For the past two years, Wallace has been senior vice-president of OMERS’ pension services and communications. Hutcheson said her current responsibilities of managing OMERS’ engagement model for 500,000 members and 1,000 employees won’t change, but she will be expected to “help drive innovation” across the pension fund’s agenda.

In December 2019, OMERS announced that Michael Latimer, who’s spent a total of two decades working at the pension fund and the past six as chief executive, was resigning effective 31 May 2020, with Hutcheson in line to take over.

OMERS, which is among Canada’s largest pension investors, has been investing in infrastructure for the past 20 years. Its infrastructure portfolio, which as of 31 December 2018 stood at C$17.9 billion or 18 percent of its overall portfolio, has generated 10.6 percent, 12.3 percent and 11 percent returns over the past three years.

The pension fund will release its 2019 annual results in February.