Quebec pension giant posts highest returns in a decade

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The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec posted the strongest returns since 2010 last year, with growth driven by its private equity holdings and public equity portfolio.

The Montreal-based pension plan manager, the second largest in Canada, returned 13.5% in 2021, beating its benchmark, according to a statement released Thursday. Investment gains were $49 billion, pushing net assets to $419.8 billion from $365 billion a year earlier.

“This demonstrates that our strategies are working and effectively taking into consideration the main challenges of today: the climate transition, the digitalization of the economy and the changes underway on the international scene”, declared the CEO of the CDPQ, Charles Emond.

The fund has decided to sell all securities affected by Western sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Emond told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday. “It’s impossible not to be exposed to Russia,” he said. “The consequences will last beyond the conflict as far as the market is concerned, and we must position ourselves accordingly.”

The fund’s private equity holdings returned 39.2% due to “good positioning in the technology, financials, healthcare and consumer sectors,” the statement said. The fund gained 16.2% in equity markets and 14.5% in infrastructure, coming from renewable energy and telecommunications assets.

The company also took advantage of market liquidity last year and sold $13 billion in private equity assets, compared with $10 billion in acquisitions.

CDPQ’s new investments include leading an $188 million financing round in Druva Inc., a California-based cloud data protection company, and taking a majority stake in Wizeline Inc., a provider of technology services operating in multiple countries.

Investments also included a $1 billion investment in Constellation – a P&C and life insurance platform – and taking a “significant” stake in Grupo Diagnostico Aries, a Mexican medical diagnostic services group.

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