University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Paul Kapsos

Class of 1992 – BA, CSI

Paul Kapsos was Director, Emerging Markets in the Public Equities department of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. He managed a team responsible for research and stock selection in listed equity securities across a range of developing economies in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and he contributed to the overall emerging markets strategy of the department and the fund. Paul started his investment career with Teachers’ in 1999, and left to work in research and portfolio management positions with TD Asset Management, AMI Partners and CPPIB before returning to this role in 2010. He has a BA (Cinema Studies) and an MBA (Valedictorian, Class of 1999) from the University of Toronto as well as an MA (Film Studies) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a few words, please outline your career path.

I started down the academic track – I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to continue my Cinema Studies education, thinking I would be a film professor.  After doing the MA, I had a long think and decided to shift – to what I wasn’t sure.  After a couple of years of travelling and odd jobs I went all the way across the street from Innis to do my MBA at Rotman.  I really enjoyed the finance aspect. I was then in the investment business, with several different organizations, until my retirement.

What did your role as Director, Emerging Markets in the Public Equities department of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board entail?

I ran a portfolio of listed shares for Teachers’ – public companies listed on stock exchanges in a number of emerging markets.  Overall Teachers’ has over $10 billion invested in emerging countries’ stocks and bonds.  I had a couple of people on my team and together we tried to invest in well-run firms that would give us a good return over the long term.  I had been to 20 countries and around the world in both directions in a four-year period looking for new investments.

What is an emerging market? Why can they be more advantageous to invest in than developed markets?

Emerging markets refers to countries whose economies are still in their development phase, as opposed to mature economies like Japan, the UK or Canada.  It’s a pretty diverse set of countries – from Chile, which is pretty wealthy to India, which is still very underdeveloped (although moving fast!). Investing in emerging economies can be lucrative as there are terrific opportunities for growth, but it is also risky as markets, governments and legal systems are also still developing.

What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?

Being able to express your ideas well – and having the confidence to speak up when you have conviction in those ideas – will separate you from most people in the workplace.

How has your undergraduate experience helped prepare you for life after graduation?

I learned to think critically, write clearly, and speak up when I had something to say.  It’s hard to underestimate the value of this.

What is your favourite memory from your time spent at Innis College?

Hanging out in the Innis Café after a class film screening in Town Hall and discussing it.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with current Innis students?

Get out and see the world – whether you study or work abroad or just travel, it broadens your perspective and makes you appreciate home all the more. Go see as wide a variety of countries and cities as you can manage.

Published June 26, 2013


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