One of Canada’s largest pension funds has hired ATP veteran Bjarne Graven Larsen as its CIO.

Graven Larsen is set to join the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan at the beginning of February, being named its executive vice-president and CIO.

In his new role, based in Toronto, he will head up the CAD154bn (€110bn) fund’s investment team, which currently manages approximately 80% of assets in-house.

Ontario Teachers chief executive Ron Mock had high praise for Graven Larsen.

“With his investment expertise, global experience, forward thinking on risk management and, importantly, hands-on work within a total-return framework, Bjarne is uniquely positioned to be our chief investment officer,” he said. 

Graven Larsen added that he considered the position the career opportunity of a lifetime.

“I have a passion for the pension sector, which is one of the most invigorating and important in the financial services industry, and I am committed to Ontario Teachers’ leadership in it,” he said. 

Over the course of his career, Graven Larsen has held a number of important roles in Denmark.

He spent two years as head of government debt management, before spending four years as monetary policy director at Danmarks Nationalbank, the country’s central bank.

He joined ATP as its CIO in 1999, overhauling its investment strategy in 2006 to focus on five types of risk – equity, credit, nominal interest rate, inflation and commodity – rather than traditional asset classes.

In 2010, Graven Larsen left ATP to be chief executive of FIH Erhvervsbank, jointly owned by ATP and PFA, before moving on last year to join Novo A/S, the holding company for Novo Group, as CFO.

ATP recently signalled that it would be changing the investment approach introduced 10 years ago under Graven Larsen.

The fund’s current chief executive Carsten Stendevad told the IPE Awards last year that it would now begin to focus on four risk factors within its return-seeking portfolio.