Let’s Hear It for the Maple Revolutionaries

The Economist: Canadian pension funds as leading lights.

March 5, 2012

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maple cookieThe Economist has only good words to say about Canada’s biggest public pension plans. With $640 billion in assets under management, Canada’s top 40 funds aren’t just big — they’re leading innovators. Here’s what The Economist had to say:

Unlike those in charge of public pension funds elsewhere, the Canadians prefer to run their portfolios internally and invest directly. They put more of their money into buy-outs, infrastructure and property, believing that these produce higher returns than publicly traded stocks and bonds. They are in some ways like depoliticised sovereign-wealth funds. Jim Leech, the boss of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, calls them a “new brand of financial institution”. And as public pensions around the world cope with painfully low yields on their assets, many see them as a template. Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s mayor, is among the model’s admirers.

It’s always nice to have our top plans noticed – and to have them branded “maple revolutionaries” (just in time for maple syrup season). Read the full article.

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It is unfortunate that the article did not get past eastern Canada. British Columbia Public Sector Pension Plans invest their pension assets through BC Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) which invests the $90 billion in much the same way. It also offers these investments a an incredible low expense ration. The total cost of administration, through the BC Pension Corporation, and investment is around 30bps. Nice to see this innovation in Canada get recognition in the US.

Transcontinental Media G.P.