Published in La Presse.

Faut-il que les grands fonds de retraite canadiens, un peu à la manière de la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, démontrent une plus grande préférence nationale dans leurs placements ?

Cette question brûlante est au cœur d’un débat dans le monde feutré du placement. La Caisse est le modèle qui inspire et fait peur avec son double mandat d’optimiser le rendement des déposants et de favoriser le développement économique du Québec.

En théorie, un investisseur parfaitement diversifié aurait une petite participation dans tous les actifs dans le monde. En pratique, ce n’est ni possible ni souhaitable, mais l’investisseur avisé répartit ses œufs dans un grand nombre de paniers.


Published in the Globe and Mail

Last month’s budget unveiled a working group led by former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to collaborate with pension fund leaders to encourage funds to invest more of their assets in Canada.

This initiative is not consistent with the proper management of pension fund assets. It also lacks proper supporting evidence, is unlikely to be effective in achieving its objective except under one unacceptable condition and ignores the use of alternative tools to achieve its stated goals.

The legislation creating the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board includes a statement of “Objects and Powers” that summarizes the approach to investing consistent with fulfilling the fiduciary duty of the…

Published in the Globe and Mail

The creation of the Canada and Quebec pension plans in the 1960s and subsequent amendments to them in the 1990s is a compelling story of how governments worked together to create and sustain one of Canada’s greatest public-policy achievements. Today we are faced with the thorny issue of how to determine a fair basis on which Alberta might choose to exit the CPP.

When the CPP was created, Ontario requested a provision to allow a province to leave the CPP by setting up an equivalent provincial plan. While open to different interpretations, Section 113 of the CPP Act describes the calculation of the amount to be paid to a withdrawing province. Its essence is to transfer to the pension fund of…

Many commentators, including the prime minister and leader of the opposition, have now weighed in on the downsides of Alberta withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and creating its own Alberta Pension Plan (APP). The Alberta proposal puts at risk a plan that has been providing secure retirement, survivor and disability benefits for nearly 60 years.

Much of the criticism and concern revolves around the $334 billion that a report prepared by the actuarial firm LifeWorks for the government of Alberta says the province should claim in compensation for assuming responsibility for paying the future benefits Albertans earned while their province was part of the CPP. The amount is 53 per cent of CPP’s current…

Since the release of the Alberta Pension Plan report, I’ve read with interest the steady stream of commentary and opinion and, while there have been some thoughtful pieces, much of it has been ill-informed and misleading.

Doubt has been cast on the credibility of the firm that researched and delivered the report. Questions have been raised about the relevance of the formula used to calculate the transfer amount. And there seems to be general disbelief that a province with only 12 per cent of the nation’s population could have title to 53 per cent of the assets of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

Albertans will only be able to properly weigh the risks and opportunities of an Alberta Pension Plan (APP) when these…