Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan Posts 17% Return for 2012

The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, a pension fund manager in Canada’s most populous province, posted a 17 percent return on investments in 2012, led by U.S. stocks, international equities and real estate.

Investment income was about C$6.8 billion ($6.6 billion) last year, compared with C$4.2 billion in 2011, according to Chief Executive Officer Jim Keohane. HOOPP, as the fund is known, managed a record C$47.4 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, up from C$40.3 billion a year earlier, the Toronto-based fund manager said today in a statement.

“2012 really was an exceptional year, everything came together and all the positioning we had worked well,” Keohane said in a telephone interview from Toronto. “I don’t expect that’s going to happen every year.”

HOOPP’s results topped the 10 percent return of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and the 9.6 percent return of Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Canada’s largest pension fund manager. HOOPP beat the 9.4 percent median return of Canadian pension funds in 2012, based on a Jan. 29 report by Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Investor Services unit.

Keohane said he’s being “selective” in looking for investments around the world as he doesn’t see valuations “being particularly attractive at the moment” for assets including private equity.

Commercial real estate, an asset that returned more than 18 percent last year for HOOPP, is still of interest.

“We are looking at things outside of Canada,” Keohane said. “We see better values in Europe, there’s a lot of dislocation in Europe so there’s some decent stuff available there at the moment.”

HOOPP oversees retirement funds for 274,000 nurses, medical technicians, food services staff, laundry workers and other healthcare workers.

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