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OPTrust Private Markets lures top private equity executive Add to ...

One of Canada's top private executives is on the move, with OPTrust Private Markets Group luring Sandra Bosela from her job as head of Edgestone Capital Partners to be the point person on the pension fund manager's search for deals.

The chance to invest a lot of private equity money is increasingly rare these days, with many firms struggling to raise new funds and other managers dealing with a lack of money allocated to the asset class.

So when a seat comes open with hundreds of millions of dollars still to invest, as is the case at OPTrust Private Markets, it's an attractive opportunity.

OPTrust's Private Markets Group has only used up a tiny portion of its allocation to private equity. The plan is to invest 15 per cent of OPTrust's assets in each of infrasctructure and private equity. On the private equity side OPTrust just a little more than a fifth of the way there, having only started investing in 2007. There's a team of about 20 professionals already working on finding transactions.

Most of the focus on private equity has been investing in funds, but the manager is looking more at direct investing in its own deals. That's where Ms. Bosela fits in.

She has a long track record in doing mid-market deals in North America, and as a managing director at OPTrust Private Markets she will be expected to help the manager get in on the deal flow.

Ms. Bosela was with Edgestone from its foundation in 1999, helping the firm as it raised and invested three equity funds. In 2010, She took over as president and managing partner of Edgestone after the firm's main co-founders stepped back. One of those partners, Sam Duboc, is now back in charge at Edgestone with Ms. Bosela's departure.

While the outlook is pretty clear at OPTrust, with more acquisitions in the pipeline, the dealmaking future at Edgestone is cloudier.

After the co-founders stepped back in 2010, Edgestone owner GMP Capital GMP-T decided to simply sell the companies in the Edgestone portfolio, which include Porter Aviation. GMP has decided not to try to rebuild the private equity business. GMP wrote down the value of Edgestone by almost $81-million in 2010 in the wake of the management turmoil.

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