Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System

Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System

September 22, 2005 10:24 ET

OMERS Team Holds Regional Meeting

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 22, 2005) - The Board and senior management of OMERS will meet today at the Marriott Niagara Falls Fallsview with area employers and members to review plan performance and outline future priorities and initiatives of the pension plan. In Niagara and surrounding area, almost 1,000 active OMERS members work for over 36 municipal employers. More than 8,000 retired members also live in the region and receive an OMERS pension.

In discussing Plan performance, Paul G. Haggis, OMERS President and CEO, will report on the progress of OMERS new investment strategy that focuses more on private market investments like private equity, infrastructure and real estate. Over the next few years the total investment in these asset classes will increase to about 37 per cent from 18 per cent in 2004. This asset mix policy is expected to create the "stable returns that are needed to meet our pension obligations today, tomorrow and in the years to come," said Haggis.

Evidence of this new direction can be seen in OMERS investment activity over the past four months. On June 1, OMERS, through Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc. closed a transaction in which we invested $558 million to acquire Scotland and South of England gas distribution networks along with two other investors. On June 15, Oxford Properties Group, another OMERS company, announced the closing of the strategic sale of a 50% interest in a portfolio of 11 core office assets to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $1.41 billion with the capital to be deployed by Oxford in other markets as part of OMERS global strategy. And, on September 13, Borealis Infrastructure completed the purchase of CEDA Holdings Ltd. from Precision Drilling Corporation for $274 million.

OMERS Board Chair, Frederick Biro, will discuss the Plan's funding status and proposed contribution increase that is due to take effect in January 2006, pending government approval. "Even with our strong returns of the past two years, we are still looking at a small contribution increase for 2006. This is not a move that the Board takes lightly but at the same time we have an obligation to ensure we have the resources to meet the pension promise."

OMERS is one of Canada's largest pension plans, with about $39 billion in assets. The Plan provides retirement benefits to 355,000 members, including over 98,000 retired members, on behalf of 900 local government employers across Ontario. Visit the OMERS website at www.omers.com for more information.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System
    Debbie Oakley
    Senior Vice-President, Corporate Affairs
    (416) 369-2402