Alison Nankivell, director in charge of Asian fund investments at Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) has left to join the Business Development Bank of Canada as vice president in charge of the Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP), a $1.2bn venture capital fund programme focused on investing in Canadian and North American venture capital funds active in Canada.
Last year OTPP said it was in the early stage of opening an Asian regional office in Hong Kong in a bid to diversify its investments, bridge funding shortfalls and tap the region’s economic growth.
Other Canadian pension funds including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Church Pension Fund that have established a presence in Asia to tap the region’s growth. The office was set to become OTPP’s third outside of Toronto, in addition to its already established presence in London and New York.
According to a spokesperson for OTPP, the move, which was first reported by PEI, was due to personal reasons to allow Nankivell to stay in Ottawa, rather than relocate to Hong Kong.
A fluent Mandarin speaker, Nankivell previously worked as an economist for an infrastructure planning consultancy in Ottawa which was involved in Asian Development Bank and World Bank infrastructure projects in China and other parts of Asia.
In February 1998, Nankivell joined Export Development Canada (EDC) and in 2000 moved to Beijing to serve as EDC’s chief representative for Greater China. In 2004, she returned to EDC’s head office in Canada to work first in financing and then in fund investment where she helped build out the Canadian venture capital and Asia fund investment platform for EDC’s Equity Team. From August 2008 to July 2011, Nankivell was posted to Beijing to manage EDC Equity’s Asia private equity fund programme and then moved to become head of funds overseeing EDC’s global fund investment programme.
In November 2012, she joined OTPP as director of funds, Asia for Teachers’ Private Capital. That same month it joined a $400m financing round for 360buy, one of China’s largest online retailers, an investment that is said to value the company at $7.3bn.
Earlier this year OTPP announced a 13 per cent rate of return for 2012, driving up net assets to C$129.5bn.
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