Pension fund manager Caisse generated 9.1 per cent return in 2015

MONTREAL -- Despite market volatility, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec generated a 9.1 per cent return on investments last year as its net assets grew to $248 billion.

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The province's largest pension fund manager says it gained $20.1 billion from net investments and $2.1 billion in net deposits for the year.

The gains last year were lighter than the 12 per cent earned in 2014, but it beat the 6.7 per cent growth in the reference index of returns by private and public institutions.

Over four years, the Caisse's annualized average return reached 10.9 per cent as assets grew by $89 billion.

Caisse CEO Michael Sabia says its strategy was put to the test in 2015 in the face of market volatility in the second half of the year fuelled by monetary policy, currency fluctuations and collapsing oil prices.

The market environment was also affected by anemic growth in developed countries and a slowdown in emerging markets.

"While not immunizing our portfolio against market movements, our strategy makes it more resilient in turbulent times," he said in a news release.

Public equity portfolios totalled nearly half the yearly gains at $9.76 billion, while real estate, private equity and infrastructure added $5.6 billion. Both sectors grew by around 11 per cent. Fixed income added $3.1 billion for a 3.9 per cent return.

Sabia said the Caisse will continue to invest capital selectively and develop international partnerships to overcome market volatility.

The Caisse said nearly 54 per cent of its exposure is outside Canada, up from 41 per cent in 2011. The United States was the biggest foreign market, accounting for 26.6 per cent of the Caisse's $75.6 billion overall global investment.

Assets in Quebec totalled $59.7 billion, with $11.2 billion invested since 2011.



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