Serving Québecers since 1965
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has changed considerably since its beginnings in 1965. To learn more about the major events that have shaped it and to better understand its role and development, browse through its history:
- 1965-1974: Management of the first institutional funds and first investments
- 1975-1984: Entry into foreign markets and the real estate sector
- 1985-1994: Diversification of the real estate portfolio
- 1995-2004: Acknowledged excellence
- 2005-2012: A leading institutional investor
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec was established on July 15, 1965 by an Act of Québec’s National Assembly to manage the funds of the Quebec Pension Plan, a public pension plan also created by the Québec government.
At that time, it was described by Jean Lesage, Premier of Québec, as “an instrument of growth, the most powerful economic lever ever seen in the province.” Future events would prove him right.
In the years following, the Caisse was entrusted with managing the funds of other public pension and insurance plans: the Supplemental Pension Plan for Employees of the Québec Construction Industry (1970), the Government and Public Employees Retirement Plan (RREGOP) (1973), the Pension Plan of Management Personnel (PPMP) (1973) and the Fonds de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (1973).
The Caisse initially focused on bonds before entering the Canadian stock market in 1967. It then created its private equity portfolio (1971), investing in Québec companies. Since 1974, it has been managing the largest Canadian equity portfolio in the country.
1975-1984: Entry into foreign markets and the real estate sector
During this period, the Caisse adopted new investment guidelines, placing greater emphasis on equity and entering the real estate market. It acquired its first office building, namely the Place Delta complex in Sainte-Foy (1980), and its first shares listed on foreign exchanges (1983). In 1984, it made its first foreign private equity investment.
In 1978, another government body, the Fonds d’assurance automobile du Québec, entrusted the Caisse with the management of its funds.
1985-1994: Diversification of the real estate portfolio
In 1989, the Caisse acquired the real estate assets of Steinberg’s grocery store chain, consisting mainly of shopping centres, and diversified its real estate portfolio with investments abroad. In 1994, the Caisse began to manage the funds of another government institution, namely, the Retirement Plans Sinking Fund.
When the Caisse was established in 1965, Premier Jean Lesage predicted that within 20 years, its assets would surpass $4 billion. In fact, they grew to seven times that amount, with total assets under management of $28 billion in 1986.
1995-2004: Acknowledged excellence
In 1996, the Caisse’s Real Estate group was the leading real estate owner in Québec and the second largest in Canada. The following year, legislative changes allowed the Caisse to invest 70% of its portfolio in shares, compared to a maximum of 40% prior to that.
Since 2003, the Caisse has received the best short- and long-term credit ratings issued by the major credit rating agencies: Moody's Investors Service (Moody’s), Standard and Poor's (S&P), and Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS). The institution’s leadership, ability to innovate, efficient governance, and sound long-term results have thus been recognized.
2005-2012: A leading institutional investor
In 2005 and 2006, the Caisse made its first major infrastructure acquisitions by investing in foreign airports. The next year, with partners, it purchased the Legacy Hotels Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), owner of the prestigious Château Frontenac in Québec City.
In 2007, its results put the Caisse in the first quartile of large Canadian pension funds for the fourth consecutive year.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Caisse implemented a series of measures to maximize efficiency, focus on core competencies, and strengthen risk management to support its long-term performance.
Today, the Caisse works closely with its 29 depositors to meet their needs. More active than ever on Canadian and foreign markets, the Caisse holds a diversified portfolio including fixed-income securities, publicly listed shares, real estate investments, and private equity. A shareholder in more than 4,000 companies in Québec, elsewhere in Canada, and around the world, the Caisse is internationally renowned as a leading institutional investor.
- An Act respecting the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (PDF 107 kB)
- Jean Lesage's Speech (PDF in French only 1.2 MB)