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Quebec’s Caisse posts best performance in more than a decade

The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec logo is pictured in Montreal on Thursday, February 20, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec posted a 13.5 per cent return last year, its best performance since 2010, with its real estate portfolio showing signs of recovery despite COVID-19 closures.

The Quebec pension fund manager beat its benchmark index, which returned 10.7 per cent. Over five and 10 years, the CDPQ’s portfolio has earned annualized returns of 8.9 per cent and 9.6 per cent, respectively.

Two years after announcing the repositioning of its real estate portfolio, the sector generated a return of 12.4 per cent in 2021, compared with a loss of 15.6 per cent in 2020 and better than the 6.1 per cent gain by its benchmark.

However, the real estate portfolio continued to underperform over a five-year horizon, returning 1.5 per cent on annualized basis. Management attributed its difficulties to the impact of the pandemic and containment measures on shopping centres and office buildings.

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The Caisse’s net assets as of Dec. 31 reached $420 billion, up from $365 billion a year earlier.

Total assets in Quebec reached a record high of $78 billion, including $60 billion in the private sector.

“In 2021, all our portfolios delivered strong performances, producing nearly $49 billion in investment results,” CEO Charles Emond said in a news release.

“”This shows that our strategies are working and effectively taking into consideration today’s key challenges: the climate transition, the digitization of the economy and ongoing changes on the international stage.“

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