OMERS fund says CIO to replace retiring CEO Nobrega

• Michael Latimer to become CEO at end March

• Latimer has been CIO since 2010

• Nobrega has signalled retirement since 2010

OMERS, which manages the pension plan for Ontario’s public-sector municipal workers and has become a major investor around the world by virtue of its C$60 billion ($56 billion) in net assets, said Latimer will become CEO on March 31.

Nobrega has been chief executive of OMERS (the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) since 2007 and has telegraphed his retirement since 2010, focusing on developing internal talent to take over the reins.

OMERS, which competes with sovereign wealth funds as well as other big pension funds for acquisitions and investment deals globally, typically relies on partnerships to minimize investment risk, a strategy that is expected to continue under Latimer’s leadership.

“Now that Michael has made his decision to retire, we anticipate a smooth transition as a result of the strength, experience and knowledge of OMERS gained by his successor, Michael Latimer, over the past several years,” Chairman Rick Miller said in a statement.

Latimer has been chief investment officer since 2010. Before that he was president and chief executive at Oxford Properties Group, the real estate investment arm of OMERS.

Under Nobrega, OMERS has followed the recent path of Canada’s other major pension funds in diversifying out of stocks and bonds into real estate, infrastructure and private equity assets around the world. Nobrega has also built up internal talent and opened offices in London and New York, and has cut investment costs by bringing the proportion of assets managed internally to almost 90 percent in 2012 from under 70 percent in 2007.

Andrea Hopkins is a reporter for Reuters News in Toronto