Barclays’ Karen Frank to lead Ontario Teachers’ private capital as Jane Rowe shifts role

Frank is replacing Jane Rowe, who led Ontario Teachers' private capital group for 10 years and will soon take on the role of vice chair, investments.

Karen Frank, CEO of Barclays Private Bank, has been appointed to head the private capital and high-conviction equities operation at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Frank will become senior managing director, equities, at the C$207 billion ($153 billion) pension fund this fall, according to a statement. She will be based in Ontario Teachers’ London office.

Frank is replacing Jane Rowe, who in April was named Ontario Teachers’ vice chair, investments. Rowe held the job for 10 years, becoming one of the world’s most influential private equity professionals.

Frank brings to the new position more than 25 years of experience as an investment banker and PE professional. She has led Barclays Private Bank for nearly four years and was previously co-head of Barclays’ European sponsors group.

Prior to Barclays, Frank held senior roles with Goldman Sachs, including in the firm’s principal investment area in New York and London and its financial sponsors business in Europe. She also worked at AEA Investors and Compass Partners International.

Frank will inherit from Rowe an in-house private capital team of more than 100 investment professionals operating from Toronto, London and Hong Kong. Overseeing net assets of C$47 billion at the end of December, the entire organization runs a global portfolio consisting of 60-plus private companies, significant investments in public companies and more than 30 PE funds.

Earlier this year, Rowe said some Ontario Teachers’-backed companies may not survive the impact of covid-19 despite best efforts to support them, Buyouts reported. In June, gym chain 24 Hour Fitness, backed by AEA Investors and Ontario Teachers’ since 2014, filed for bankruptcy and obtained debtor-in-possession financing from creditors.

Rowe said Ontario Teachers’ is nonetheless benefiting from a balanced portfolio and focus on private companies that “work well in the long-term and through different cycles.” She added the pension fund’s global positioning will give it an advantage when looking for new opportunities.

Action item: Reach Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan at its Toronto headquarters here: 416-226-2700.