Canadian Investment Review

Real Estate Puts Damper on Caisse, OMERS gains

Written by Caroline Cakebread on Monday, March 1st, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Montreal PicPositive news from two of Canada’s largest pension funds – both The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (the Caisse) and The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) posted double-digit gains for 2009. While the big funds enjoyed a stellar rebound in equity markets, private equity and infrastructure, real estate was a problem spot for both.

Taking a closer look at the numbers, the Caisse posted a total fund return of 10.4% and OMERS enjoyed a 10.6% rate of return.  However, real estate dragged both funds down – the Caisse’s real estate portfolio posted a -15.8% loss. At OMERS, the asset class generated a lowly 1.3% return (the fund’s benchmark was 6.7%). OMERS also reported disappointing numbers for its “strategic investments” division which lost -1.2%, well below the benchmark of 10.7%.

Both funds also lagged their one-year benchmarks.

There were a few star performers at both: emerging markets at the Caisse returned an impressive 50%, while private equity and infrastructure at OMERS gained 13.9% and 10.9% respectively.

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