Canada Pension Plan Delivers 1.6% Quarterly Gain on Investments

  • Canada pension plan boosts assets to C$273 billion in period
  • CPP gains even as equities decline in the second quarter

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension fund, returned 1.6 percent in its latest quarter, navigating tumultuous capital markets by diversifying across assets and geographies.

Assets under management rose to about C$273 billion ($205 billion) in the fiscal second quarter from the previous period and up 17 percent from the same period a year ago, according to a statement Thursday.

“Our whole goal is this continued march toward greater and greater diversification, which we believe will continue to provide us with the resiliency in the portfolio that you have seen essentially in the first six months of the year,” Mark Wiseman, chief executive officer of Canada Pension, said in an interview.

Canada Pension’s gain in the quarter came against an 8.6 percent decline in the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index over the same time.

"That was in a market environment that was incredibly negative," Wiseman said. Equity and fixed-income investments made up 50.9 percent and 29 percent of the portfolio respectively, down from 51.3 percent and 33 percent a year earlier. Real estate and infrastructure accounted for 20 percent of the portfolio at the end of September, up from 16 percent last year.

During the quarter, Canada Pension made several investments, including committing more than $1 billion to a new acquisition vehicle in partnership with Calgary’s Wolf Infrastructure to invest in pipelines and other energy infrastructure.

A new entity, 95 percent owned by Canada Pension, also agreed to buy oil and gas properties in Colorado from Encana Corp. in October.

Since the end of the quarter, Canada Pension also reached an agreement in partnership with BC Partners to acquire roughly a 30 percent stake in Cablevision Systems Corp., helping French billionaire Patrick Drahi finance Altice SA’s takeover of the U.S. company for $1 billion. 

The pension plan also opened a new office in Mumbai.

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