Manulife Capital’s Craig Ferguson joins IMCO to lead private equity

Ferguson, who joined IMCO earlier in 2020, will lead the PE portfolio as the institution looks to increase its focus on direct investment opportunities.

Craig Ferguson, a managing director of Manulife Capital, the private-markets arm of insurer Manulife, left that organization to run private equity at Investment Management Corp of Ontario, Buyouts has learned.

Ferguson joined the C$70 billion ($52 billion; €46 billion) IMCO as managing director, private equity, earlier this year, his LinkedIn profile shows. He leads the PE portfolio, providing guidance and direction to “strengthen the asset class and deliver long-term growth,” according to the institution’s website.

Ferguson’s job was previously held by Sean Macaulay. Macaulay is now an operating partner with EagleTree Capital, his LinkedIn profile shows.

IMCO did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Ferguson was with Manulife Capital for nine years, playing a key role in its strategy of providing minority equity and subordinated debt to mid-market companies and specialty real estate in North America. The firm manages more than C$5 billion in capital.

Before joining Manulife in 2011, Ferguson worked as a principal with McKenna Gale Capital, a mid-market mezzanine and PE firm. He was with McKenna Gale for more than 10 years.

Toronto-based IMCO is one of Canada’s newest institutional investors in PE. Launched in 2016 by the Ontario government, and modeled after systems like Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, it is intended to help public sector funds scale and gain access to private-market investments.

At present, IMCO oversees the assets of Ontario Pension Board, the administrator of the Public Service Pension Plan, and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

IMCO’s PE strategy is focused on making co-investments and fund investments, with most opportunities sought in consumer, healthcare, industrial, and technology, media and telecom sectors. The global portfolio had a market value of C$1.9 billion at the end of December, according to IMCO’s 2019 annual report.

IMCO’s recent PE deals include last November’s sale of a stake in Caprion Biosciences, a Montreal laboratory services provider. The transaction formed part of Arsenal Capital Partners’ acquisition of the company from GHO Capital Partners.

In the 2019 report, IMCO said it intends to give more emphasis to direct PE investing in the years ahead. It also plans to diversify portfolio activity across geographies and strategies, select strategic partners, and build in-house teams and capabilities.

In March, Buyouts reported IMCO’s former head of private markets, Nicole Musicco, joined RedBird Capital Partners as a partner.

Action item: Reach IMCO at its Toronto headquarters here: 416-408-4626