Normand Provost, executive vice president of private equity at Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, will retire in 2014 and transition to the role of strategic adviser to the president.
La Caisse has launched a search process to replace Provost, who joined the financial institution in 1980 and has held positions including adviser, investment manager and president and chief executive officer of CDP Capital – Americas, La Caisse’s private equity subsidiary. Provost created the private equity and infrastructure portfolios at La Caisse and has been executive vice president of private equity since 2003. He also held the title of chief operations officer from 2009 to 2012.
“[Provost] established our current private equity business model, assembled teams and successfully generated solid, sustainable results throughout his career, during all phases of the market cycle,” president and chief executive officer of La Caisse Michael Sabia said in a statement.
La Caisse’s private equity portfolio posted a 13.6 percent return in 2012, nearly double the 7.1 percent return from the previous year. The C$176.2 billion (€133.3 billion; $174.7 billion) system, which manages institutional funds primarily from public and private pension and insurance funds in Québec, had roughly 55 percent of its private equity portfolio in direct investments as of 31 December 2012, with the remaining 45 percent in funds.
“That’s probably going to [continue] increasing on the direct part of the story and decrease on the indirect part,” Roland Lescure, executive vice president and chief investment officer of La Caisse told Private Equity International, in a previous interview, adding that the Caisse will likely also move more toward establishing separately managed accounts on the fund investment side.
“I think the future of indirect investing has a lot more to do with segregated accounts than with funds,” he said. “Yes, we’re going to have more and more directs, but also the way we do indirects is going to change.”
La Caisse also is in the process of making broader changes to its alternatives portfolio. Last year, following a review of its “strategic orientations”, La Caisse established a new investment strategy that included increasing its investments in private equity, infrastructure and real estate “in the years to come”, according to its 2012 annual report.
During the past four years, La Caisse’s private equity portfolio has generated a combined return of 14.3 percent. The system’s entire portfolio generated a 9.6 percent overall return in 2012.