CANADA - The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is still a "solid" institution despite a C$40bn (US$34bn) loss in 2008, executives say.
He said: "If we exclude asset-backed commercial papers, the Caisse' returns have been of 4.1%, instead of 3.1%. This proves that our allocations are of good quality."
Perreault said the losses in asset values were largely due to the heavy purchase of ABCP and market turmoil (Globalpensions.com: 26/02/09).
He said: "Our beneficiaries have been strongly affected by the very disappointing results, which were largely due to a mistake we made on ABCP."
Speaking at the same hearing, senior vice-president, legal affairs Claude Bergeron said the Caisse acquired ABCP, because it considered them a very safe investment on the basis of the rating given by rating agency DBRS.
However, he said: "The Caisse diversified the issuer risk without keeping sufficiently into account the associated liquidity risk of structured products and no limit per product was imposed."
Former president Richard Guay - who resigned in January 2009 after a period of medical leave - also testified at the hearing and said he was "exhausted and overwhelmed" by what was happening in the markets.
He added he preferred to leave his job rather than make mistakes which could damage the Caisse.
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