Canadian pension fund HOOPP to open London office

FILE PHOTO: A view of the London financial district seen from Waterloo Bridge in London

By Maiya Keidan, Iain Withers and Carolyn Cohn

TORONTO/LONDON (Reuters) -The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP), one of Canada's largest pension funds, plans to open a London office as part of its global expansion, it said on Friday.

The move reflects growing investor confidence in Britain, which is rolling out a number of post-Brexit reforms to boost capital inflow and regain ground lost to financial centres like New York.

"We see value in London as a hub to effectively support and manage HOOPP's growing assets," the spokesperson for the fund said in an interview. More details will be revealed in due course, the person said.

Another Canadian pension and Australia's top two largest schemes both invested in the UK recently.

Australia's largest pension fund is hiring more staff in London and the country's second-biggest pension fund said it would open a new office in the city.

The C$233 billion British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) announced in February that its infrastructure and renewable resources team was opening an office in London to target more investments in the UK and across Europe.

The C$104 billion ($76.98 billion) pension fund has briefed local officials - including the City of London Corporation that runs the British capital's historic financial district - about the plans, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

"A lot of people are looking at UK assets at the moment," said Tom Thackeray, partner at headhunting firm Heidrick & Struggles, who works with private capital funds. He said the interest partly reflected a dearth of available quality assets.

London-based job recruiters see a growing trend of overseas pension funds setting up shop in Britain to grab talent and gain better access to local investments.

"Those with a global viewpoint generally see the strong upside in the UK," said Ghada Sousou, CEO of recruitment firm Sousou Partners. "This is thanks to geographic positioning, cosmopolitan lifestyle, top schooling and relatively low political and economic risk."

While HOOPP does not break down its investments by region, its real estate allocations have continued to grow outside Canada, rising 11.4% in 2022, to almost half of its portfolio, according to the fund's annual reports.

Out of the top 10 Canadian pension schemes, eight have offices in London.

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan in Toronto and Iain Withers and Carolyn Cohn in London; Editing by Paul Simao and Richard Chang)