2015 marked the year that Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was on July 15, 1965 that this major financial institution was officially established to play an active role in the creation of a modern Québec.
Focused on the future, proud of what it has accomplished, la Caisse celebrates the past 50 years by acknowledging the vision of its architects and the contribution of those who built the institution from the ground up. Thanks to them and to all employees, from the past to today, la Caisse evolved from Québec asset manager to world-class investor.
This is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the main phases of its 50 years of history.
La Caisse then and now: from Québec asset manager to world-class investor
|Realizing a vision in a modernizing Québec
“Caisse de dépôt et placement is expected to become the most important and most powerful financial instrument we have ever had in Québec. […] It will first administer millions, and billions over the long run, which must also be used to contribute to Québec’s economic development.”
Jean Lesage, June 9, 1965
The main architects of la Caisse
|La Caisse’s early days: starting from scratch
When Claude Prieur took the helm in January 1966, everything remained to be done. Alone in a rented office, his only asset was a pencil, inadvertently taken from Jean Lesage’s desk. Having died suddenly on April 11, 1973 at the age of 53, Mr. Prieur had built la Caisse. Under his leadership, assets surpassed two billion dollars.
Source: Dix milliards par jour, 2002
Leaders over the years
An increasingly sophisticated profession
La Caisse has also made many private equity investments since 1971. Over time, its teams have acquired a unique expertise in this industry.
|Constantly evolving markets
Volatility is central to the daily reality of la Caisse’s financial experts. The bond market is not immune to this situation with interest rate variability. For example, Canadian long-term government bond yields oscillated between 1.75% and 17.66% over 50 years.
|One of the 10 largest real estate investors worldwide
La Caisse has been active in the mortgage sector since 1967 and in real estate investing since 1972. Today, with close to 200 buildings around the world and more than 470 financings in Canada, its two subsidiaries, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Otéra Capital, are industry leaders.
|More than 15 years of infrastructure expertise
Since 1999, la Caisse has invested in infrastructure, in Canada and internationally. Today, its portfolio exceeds ten billion dollars. This expertise enables it to act as an owner-operator in this key sector of the economy, with the launch of CDPQ Infra, its subsidiary dedicated to infrastructure. With this unique model, it will stand out and play an even more crucial role in this market.
|La Caisse then and now
Fifty years after it was created, la Caisse manages over $248 billion in assets. It has generated annual returns of 8.6% for its clients over 50 years. It has global scope and reach, with offices in Québec City, Montréal, New York City, Washington, Mexico City, Paris, Beijing, Singapore, and soon Mumbai and Sydney. For a population of eight million, having such a resource is quite an asset.
|Behind our clients are Quebecers
Originally created to manage the assets of Québec’s Régie des rentes or pension plan, la Caisse now has 34 clients, which are mainly pension and insurance plans. Together, they have a connection with the majority of Quebecers.
|The cornerstone of la Caisse
La Caisse: more than 851 people working in Québec City, Montréal and in the international offices. More than 1,600 additional people active in the real estate subsidiaries. These specialists from various disciplines constitute the cornerstone of its expertise and its success.
“We’ve set the bar high. But I have no doubt that our teams have both the talent and determination to rise to the challenge. And I believe it is this unwavering commitment to success that will carry la Caisse through the next 50 years.”