Foreign appetite for Canadian investment remains strong, according Brookfield Asset Management CEO Bruce Flatt.
“This is one of the bright countries in the world,” Flatt told BNN after the company’s annual general meeting in Toronto. “We have investors, our sovereign institutional investors, who are non-Canadian. Many of them want to put their money into Canada.”
The comments come mid-way through a year marked by a dramatic exodus of international companies from Alberta’s oil patch. Global oil firms have sold roughly US$22.5 billion in oil sand assets to Canadian producers in 2017 alone.
Harris Fricker, CEO of GMP Capital, recently described a “major outflow of capital” from Canada to the U.S., characterizing the risk-off trade as “pretty powerful”.
But Flatt, who helms Canada’s largest alternative-asset manager, said his contacts would eagerly invest in the country.
“Our clients in real estate and infrastructure, tomorrow morning if I asked them ‘XYZ, you can invest in any country in the world, and the opportunities are the same. How about Canada?’ They would go for Canada.”
Flatt did, however, concede Canada has its challenges.
“The real issue is just the size,” he noted, echoing comments from other Canadian infrastructure investors. “There's a massive amount of money out there… [but] it's tougher to find opportunities.”
Flatt also told BNN he believes the Canada Infrastructure Bank is “an excellent idea.”
"We're in favour of anything that promotes infrastructure in private hands because we think it's good for countries and we think it's good for businesses."
Asked which types of projects Brookfield would be most interest in investing in, Flatt said it runs the gamut.
“Any type of infrastructure that's out there,” he said.