Quebec’s Caisse pension fund returns 4% for 2011

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Montreal, had a weighted average return of 4% for 2011, according to a Caisse news release.

Net assets were C$159 billion (US$159.2 billion) as of Dec. 31, up 4.7% or C$7.2 billion — C$5.7 billion in investment returns and C$1.5 billion from contributions — from Dec. 31, 2010, according to the news release.

Public equity investments lost C$4.4 billion for the year; Canadian equities lost 10.6% while U.S. equities had a 4.6% return. Fixed-income investments returned 10.4%, or C$5.7 billion; private equity, 7.1%, or C$1.1 billion; and inflation-sensitive investments returned 13.9%, or C$3.1 billion. The remaining assets are in other investments, including hedge funds, overlays and cash.

“Despite difficult conditions, we were able to adjust our asset allocation to protect our depositors' capital and notably grow our assets,” said Michael Sabia, Caisse president and CEO, in the new release. “After three years of hard work, the Caisse's net assets now stand at C$159 billion, C$3.6 billion above the level reached prior to the 2008 crisis.”

The news release notes that the retirement system has more than C$45 billion in portfolio liquidity.

As of Dec. 31, Caisse's actual asset allocation was 37% fixed income; 36% public equity; 16% inflation-sensitive investments; 10% private equity; and 1%other.

Caisse spokeswoman Mylene Belanger said Mr. Sabia and other officials were not available for additional comment by press time.