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May 19, 2020

Nevermind Norway, ex-CPPIB CEO sees 'significant value' in oil patch

Canada must quickly get its own energy products to global markets: Mark Wiseman

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Canadian energy still presents plenty of value to investors, notwithstanding being shunned by the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, according to a former chief executive of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).  

“I think it is a question of: Where is value? And I believe there is a lot of value in the energy sector today,” Mark Wiseman told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang Tuesday when asked whether Canadian pension funds should throw their weight behind the country’s energy companies.  

“I think Canadian pension funds have an obligation to find the best risk-weighted returns for their beneficiaries that they can,” he added. “And I would suggest today there is significant value in the Western Canadian basin, and in Canadian companies that are operating in that basin.”

However, Wiseman, who currently serves as a senior advisor to Hillhouse Capital Group, also stressed the need to get Canadian product to global markets quickly.

Wiseman’s comments come after Norway’s US$1-trillion wealth fund announced last week it was blacklisting Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. from its portfolio, after an assessment that determined the companies produce an “unacceptable” level of greenhouse gas emissions.

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The world’s biggest sovereign investor said the decision was based on recommendations from the fund’s ethics watchdog. 

Wiseman acknowledged the growing importance for companies to have a strong focus on sustainability in their businesses.

“I believe that Canadian companies who want to succeed in the long-run have to put sustainability at the core of their business model because that is what is going to make them more profitable in the future,” Wiseman said.

“We’re showing time and again that companies that do a better job of having good practices around [Environmental, Social, and Governance] are the companies that are more valuable in the long term. And investors are understanding that today too.”

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