Caisse Has Five Money Managers in Brendan Wood Top-50 Study

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, the pension-fund manager that posted a record loss in 2008, has five of the top 50 equity managers in Canada this year, according to a study by Brendan Wood International.

The Caisse’s Jean-Frederic Berard, Jean-Francois Jolicoeur, Stephen Kibsey, Francois Lebel and Louis-Phillipe Thibodeau were among the top vote-getters in the poll of analysts obtained by Bloomberg News. It’s the second annual study by Brendan Wood International, a provider of information used by capital markets businesses.

In the past 16 months, Canada’s biggest pension-fund manager has cut jobs, scaled back the use of derivatives and exited businesses after reporting a C$39.8 billion ($38.3 billion) loss in 2008 on asset sales and writedowns tied to insolvent Canadian commercial paper.

The Montreal-based Caisse, which managed C$131.6 billion in net assets at year-end including C$46.4 billion in equities, hired former BCE Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Sabia as CEO in March 2009. The Caisse posted a 10 percent return on investments last year.

“We invest a lot in research and market analysis, and it’s gratifying to see that our efforts are recognized by the industry,” Jean-Luc Gravel, executive vice-president of equities at Caisse, said in a statement.

Canadian equities returned 37 percent last year for the Caisse, compared with a 31 percent return for the S&P/TSX Composite Index. At year-end, the Caisse held Canadian stocks valued at C$17.1 billion.

RBC Tops List

Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Asset Management unit topped the list for the second year with six money managers, including Stuart Kedwell and Doug Raymond. Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management, a unit of RBC, has two investors on the list.

Goodman & Co. had four on the list, including Oscar Belaiche and Rohit Sehgal. Sentry Select Capital also had four, including Sandy McIntyre and Kevin MacLean.

There were 19 new managers on the list this year, including Norm Lamarche of Front Street Capital Inc. and the Caisse’s Berard.

“The Caisse is one of those pension funds with a complicated and politically demanding mandate,” Brendan Wood, chairman of Brendan Wood International, said yesterday in an interview at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. “They’re responsible for the pension funds of the public-service employees of Quebec. It’s an immense responsibility.”

Surveyed 400 Analysts

The research company, founded in 1970 to investigate performance in capital markets, surveyed 400 analysts at 65 firms, with about half of those polled in Canada. The analysts were asked to name their top equity-portfolio managers based on their insight, knowledge and influence in the Canadian stock markets.

Brendan Wood International compiled the top-50 list based on the number of votes they received. It didn’t release the vote tally for each money manager.

The following is a list of Brendan Wood International’s 50 TopGun Canadian Portfolio Managers:

Name                              Asset Management Firm
Gary Baker                        Connor, Clark & Lunn
Chris Beer                        RBC Asset Management
Oscar Belaiche                    Goodman & Co.
James Black                       Beutel Goodman & Co.
Claude Boulos                     Selexia Investment
Benoit Brillon                    Selexia Investment
Stephane Champagne                CI Investments
Robert Cohen                      Goodman & Co.
Robert Decker                     Aurion Capital Management
Britt Doherty                     Scotia Asset Management
Martin Dufresne                   Fiera Capital
Jean-Frederic Berard              Caisse de Depot
Benoit Gervais                    Mackenzie Financial
Kevin Hall                        Guardian Capital LP
Jamie Horvat                      Sprott Asset Management Inc.
Miranda Hubbs                     McLean Budden
David Jiles                       Leith Wheeler Investment
Jean-Francois Jolicoeur           Caisse de Depot
Stuart Kedwell                    RBC Asset Management
Stephen Kibsey                    Caisse de Depot
Norm Lamarche                     Front Street Capital
Francois Lebel                    Caisse de Depot
Ari Levy                          TD Asset Management
Robert Lyon                       AGF Funds Inc.
Scott Lysakowski                  Phillips, Hager & North
Craig MacAdam                     Aurion Capital Management
Kevin MacLean                     Sentry Select Capital
Hugh McCauley                     Acuity Funds Ltd.
Jennifer McClelland               RBC Asset Management
Sandy McIntyre                    Sentry Select Capital
Keith McLean                      GMP Investment Management
Dennis Mitchell                   Sentry Select Capital
Marcello Montanari                RBC Asset Management
Margot Naudie                     CPP Investment Board
John Novak                        Connor, Clark & Lunn
Charles Oliver                    Sprott Asset Management Inc.
John Priestman                    Guardian Capital LP
Doug Raymond                      RBC Asset Management
Jacqueline Ricci                  J. Zechner Associates Inc.
Rohit Sehgal                      Goodman & Co.
Mike Simpson                      Sentry Select Capital
John Smolinski                    TD Asset Management
Brahm Spilfogel                   RBC Asset Management
Doug Stadelman                    Phillips, Hager & North
John Stephenson                   First Asset Management
Andrew Taylor                     Goodman & Co.
Louis-Phillipe Thibodeau          Caisse de Depot
Scott Vali                        CI Investments
Steven Vertes                     Connor, Clark & Lunn
Malcolm White                     CI Investments