Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Chief Executive Officer Ron Mock thinks Canadians will be slow to adapt to the concept of privately-owned airports, but will eventually understand their benefit. In an interview on BNN, Mock said Canadian attitudes toward privately-held infrastructure are vastly different from the views in Europe, presenting something of a concern for pension funds and private equity players considering investing in domestic air infrastructure.
“Canada is not used to the private model. In Europe for example, we’re invested in London City, Birmingham, Bristol, Brussels, Copenhagen, we’re invested in Sydney Airport in Australia: it’s a much more accepted way of operating those kinds of assets,” he said. “In Canada, I still think there’s a ways to go. But I do believe it is a model that is beneficial for the country.”
Mock said he thinks much of the resistance to the private model is because Canadians focus on the out-of-pocket costs as they use the facility, as opposed to understanding it ultimately flows into their pensions to be tapped in retirement.
“If the large pension funds in this country are investing, the beneficiaries of the return that you would get from any airport or large infrastructure [projects], is to the people of Canada: they’re either the teachers, or the hospital workers or Canadian citizens, broadly speaking,” he said.
“I think in time it will become a more accepted model and in time I think it will become a more necessary model for Canadians to adopt.”