Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Toronto, one of Canada's largest pension funds, posted its worst result since the global financial crisis after suffering big losses in its private equity and real estate holdings.
The pension fund, known as OMERS, lost 2.7% on its investments last year, pushing assets to C$105 billion ($84 billion). It's the worst result since 2008, when it lost 15.3%.
"We have been hit very hard by COVID and we're not making excuses, but the fact is most of our difficulties this year were directly related to COVID," Blake Hutcheson, who became chief executive officer on June 1, said in an interview.
The pension fund fell far short of its 6.9% return benchmark, and also trailed the average 20% increase of Canadian pension plans, as estimated by Bank of New York Mellon Corp.
Losses in its consumer-facing investments, including retail properties and transportation and entertainment holdings, explain more than half of the overall performance gap versus the benchmark, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Simmons said.