GLOBAL - Dutch pension giant ABP has teamed up with the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), one of Canada's largest pension funds, to launch a 15-year programme to invest in start-ups located in both countries.

ABP and OMERS have already earmarked €200m to invest over the first five years of the initiative, dubbed INKEF Capital, with €100m being invested in each country.

They said the initiative would contribute not only to their respective pension holders' returns, but also the "development of the high-level knowledge economy" in Canada and the Netherlands.

INKEF Capital is unlike most other start-up initiatives, they added, because of its longer-term investment horizon and active mentoring approach.

They also said the initiative was "especially suitable" for pension funds and that collaboration in programmes for direct investment was a "promising new strategic option" for the future - "in this asset class as in others".

The partners said the initial portfolio would be weighted toward early stage companies that will mature over the 15-year term.

Deal flow is likely to originate from university spin-offs, informal investors, regional funds and new technologies by existing companies.

OMERS is a jointly sponsored, multi-employer defined benefit pension plan that has more than 400,000 members and boasts more than $47bn (€37bn) in net investment assets.