Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec posted the highest returns since 2010 last year, with growth boosted by its private equity holdings and public stock portfolio.  

The Montreal-based pension manager, Canada’s second-largest, returned 13.5 per cent in 2021, exceeding its benchmark, according to a statement on Thursday. Investment gains stood at $49 billion (US$38.2 billion), pushing net assets to $419.8 billion from $365 billion a year earlier. 

“This shows that our strategies are working and effectively taking into consideration today’s key challenges: the climate transition, the digitization of the economy and ongoing changes on the international stage,” CDPQ Chief Executive Officer Charles Emond said.

The fund has decided to to sell all securities affected by Western sanctions being imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Emond told reporters at a briefing Thursday. “It’s impossible not to be exposed to Russia,” he said. “The consequences will last beyond the conflict when it comes to the market, and we need to position ourselves accordingly.”


The fund’s private equity holdings returned 39.2 per cent due to “good positioning in the technology, finance, health care and consumer sectors,” according to the statement. The fund earned 16.2 per cent in equity markets and 14.5 per cent in infrastructure, stemming from renewable energy and telecommunications assets. 

The firm also took advantage of liquid markets last year and sold $13 billion of private-equity assets, compared with $10 billion in acquisitions. 

CDPQ’s new investments included leading a US$147 million financing round in Druva Inc., a California-based cloud data protection firm, and taking a majority stake in Wizeline Inc., a technology services supplier operating in several countries. 

Investments also included a $1 billion investment in Constellation -- a property, casualty and life insurance platform -- and taking a “significant” stake in Grupo Diagnóstico Aries, a Mexican medical diagnostic services group.