Shakeup at Quebec’s Caisse

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec will combine three internal direct private equity investment programs and has hired Ernst & Young to find an external manager for its portfolio of direct venture capital investments.

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec will combine three internal direct private equity investment programs and has hired Ernst & Young to find an external manager for its portfolio of direct venture capital investments.

The Canadian public money manager has announced the consolidation of its direct private equity operations – CDP Capital Communications, CDP Capital Technology Ventures and CDP Capital Americas.

In addition, the Caisse has retained consultant Ernst & Young to recommend an external manager for its C$300 million (US$218; €180 million) direct venture capital investment portfolio.

Speaking to the Montreal Gazette, Caisse spokesperson Lucie Freniere said it was unusual for pension funds to make direct venture capital investments. “We really want to align ourselves with the best practices in the industry and see how we can do more and do it better,” she said.

In a statement, Normand Provost, executive vice-president for private equity, said: “Combining the subsidiaries will permit better co-ordination of all the Caisse’s private equity operations within one unit. It will simplify the organisational structure, improve efficiency and generate a higher return for depositors while taking the specific nature of the various products into account, especially in venture capital.”

The Caisse also announced its intention to invest of more than $200 million ‘in Québec’s venture capital industry’ over the next three years. 

The Caisse had C$10.3 billion of assets under management as at December 31, 2003 and its private equity holdings represented 7 percent of total assets under management, according to the release.