The legal mandate of the Caisse is to increase the assets of depositors, a responsibility that traditionally it has sought to fulfil while promoting economic development in Quebec. In general, it has been successful in meeting this dual objective, with performance comparing favourably to the Canada Pension Plan, and, frequently, to other Canadian institutional portfolios and standard reference indices.
The early investments of the Caisse were essentially comprised of Quebec and Hydro-Québec bonds, a portion of which served as key backing for hydroelectric development in Churchill Falls, Labrador. In 1997, its incorporating act was modified to allow the majority of its assets under management to be invested in equities. The Caisse is currently Canada's largest institutional investor, the primary holder of TSX-listed stocks and the holder of the country's largest real property portfolio. To maximize yield, the fund has established multiple subsidiaries specializing in investments in open and closed-capital companies in communications, new technologies, small business and large corporations and real estate. Due to its size, the fund is increasingly turning to foreign investment, and has opened offices in Europe, Asia and Latin America to seek out the best investment prospects. The fund's current objectives include making Montreal a world-class financial centre and doubling its assets by 2005. It is currently prospecting worldwide to win management assignments for its skilled team of some 400 experts. The Caisse has made caution and bold action its watchwords.
Author RUDY LE COURS