Following large investment losses in 2008 and the first half of 2009, the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, Montreal, launched a media offensive on Jan. 25, to reassure workers about stability of the C$120.1 billion (US$113.1 billion) fund.
A lengthy letter from President and CEO Michael Sabia, published in the op-ed section of major Quebec newspapers, promises a return to “plain old common-sense” principles, greater transparency and better communication with participants.
Mr. Sabia, who joined the fund less than a year ago, said in the letter that the fund has “eliminated much of the financial engineering” that he said was largely responsible for the C$39.8 billion, or 25%, loss the plan suffered in 2008. The fund also reported a loss of $5.7 billion on alternatives and other less liquid investments in the first half of 2009.
“Going forward, we aim to invest only in financial instruments that we understand,” he wrote.
The fund also will begin releasing midyear results for the first time in its history, Mr. Sabia said in the letter. He added that the fund is increasing its liquidity and reducing financial exposures, including its debt, by about C$20 billion.
Caisse spokesman Maxime Chagnon said the Caisse leadership aims to have better lines of communication with participants: “As soon as Michael arrived in March, he said very clearly he was looking to increase the transparency of the Caisse and communicate with the public and that's what he's doing.” — Timothy Inklebarger