The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOP) is the latest large Canadian investor to target the insurance-linked securities (ILS) market as a source of returns and the Plan has hired an experienced portfolio manager to get it started.
Bernard Van der Stichele has joined the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOP) as a Portfolio Manager for its new Insurance-linked Securities investment program.
Recently, the HOOP pension fund had been searching for an experienced ILS executive to lead the launch of an Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) program within its Investment Management operations.
Seeing ILS as a potentially attractive source of both risk adjusted returns and diversification benefits for the pension fund, HOOP hired to bring someone in-house to help in building a portfolio of ILS and reinsurance linked assets.
The pension also wanted to hire someone that could bring relationships and connections with them, seeing its alignment with the ILS market and its practitioners as key.
Bernard Van der Stichele brings with him plenty of experience, having worked for some key players in the ILS and reinsurance linked investments marketplace over the years.
Van der Stichele had helped the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) with its entry to the ILS and reinsurance investing space back in 2000, working as an Assistant Portfolio Manager at that giant Canadian pension investor for around 13 years.
He then moved on to work at AQR Capital Management for two years, where he helped to build out the investment managers ILS capabilities and managed its catastrophe bond fund, while also educating across the fund manager about the opportunities in reinsurance linked investing.
After AQR, Van der Stichele spent a short period at broker Guy Carpenter, before moving on in mid-2017 when he joined dedicated ILS fund manager AlphaCat, part of Bermudian reinsurer Validus at the time, working as a portfolio manager across ILS strategies, including collateralised reinsurance, retrocession and cat bonds.
He also spent some time working at Global Parametrics as its CTO and founded an analytics company, before taking this new position with the Hoop pension plan in 2020.
The HOOP pension plan is one of the largest defined benefit funds in Canada, with over $79 billion of assets under management.
Insurance-linked securities (ILS) sits in the hybrid strategies bucket for the HOOP pension and Van der Stichele will be tasked with helping to develop this new strategy into something that is both capital efficient and diversifying to HOOP’s overall investments.
He will be expected to develop and expand an internal ILS portfolio for the pension, scaling it when market opportunities are appropriate. The pension also has an ambition to go beyond peak peril ILS and access diversifying sources of risk.
Van der Stichele’s experience will be invaluable to the HOOP pension plan as it navigates the complex asset class that is ILS and reinsurance and begins to allocate capital to it.
It’s good to see another major pension fund looking to enter the ILS market and encouraging to see the pension bringing expertise inside to help it manage the strategy and generate appropriate returns.