The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec can boast to be one of the only financial institutions that are “100 % virtual” since the outbreak of the crisis.
“Whether in Quebec or elsewhere, we are working all of the house. It is operational 24/7. People work hard to protect the capital of Quebec, ” says the CEO, Charles Emond.
The Caisse is now in a much better position than during the economic crisis of 2008, says the former banker, Scotiabank. But he refuses to evaluate, for the moment, the financial impact of the current situation on the assets of the Fund.
“The Caisse is not immune. But our portfolio is more diversified and has entered this crisis in a defensive position. “However, he conceded that certain assets such as shopping centres held by the subsidiary Ivanhoé-Cambridge could taste it and it is likely that IC leaves faster than expected in this sector, let-t-he hear. “Same thing for office space. It is sure that there will be changes as we realize that the telework, it works well for many companies. ”
How are you personally in this crisis (work, home, family, etc)
Whether in Quebec or elsewhere in the world, we work long days, but all of the house. It is operational 24/7. People work hard to protect the capital of Quebec.
Is it that you manage the Fund entirely at a distance ?
I am connected, I have all my tools. We work with the Microsoft Teams. My days are filled, I don’t spend as much time connected with all the world usually! Although we do it at a distance, it’s as if it soda even more the team.
What was your first priority, when the crisis broke?
The safety of the employees. Measurements were taken from the 20th of January because we have offices in Asia. We already had a crisis of hygiene measures that are becoming more and more muscular to the entire organization. Then of course it is to make sure that the fund is operational in the context of market volatility.
You have experienced the attacks of September 11, 2001, and 2008. Why compare it to the one below.
Many make this parallel. But this crisis is different. It began in China, an actor who is more important today than ever before. These are not the excesses of banking which slowed the economy, it is a health crisis that completely closed the economy. We can say that it is as blunt as 1929.
Is it that you can reassure Quebecers that you’re going to show compassion for individuals and SMES in troubled waters ?
At the first sign of this crisis, it was not expected that they contact us. It’s accompanied by. We went to our societies. We made a plan of using 4 billion, which were required in the circumstances. It will be case-by-case basis. I think that it is possible to help our businesses while making a profit.
Is what Quebecers must fear for their retirement? And the current retirees ?
No. It does not need to worry about for retirement. The Caisse is not in the same situation (as in 2008). It has the liquidity to face the current situation and the after. Compared to 2008 there is a margin of manoeuvre. These crises pass, they are hard but they pass.
Is the plan using the Federal and Quebec is enough to revive the economy ?
It is very difficult to assess whether this will be enough because no one has a crystal ball. It is better to prepare for a period that is prologue. Several measures robust were presented. This is counter-intuitive but what will we raise the more quickly it is to comply with the health measures.
Quebec has put in place a committee of priorities to prepare for the economic recovery. Do you have priorities to propose to François Legault?
There are certain industries where the track (er)take-off is going to be long. It will be necessary to add more engines to the aircraft to ensure it takes off. I think it would be necessary to ensure appropriate programs. The recovery will be different from one sector to another.
We had discussions with the governments. I let them do their things but we’re certainly going to give (the pulse) of the land.
Our largest economic partner is the United States. This country has become the epicenter of the contagion. Do you believe that this will have a major impact on your business?
It is not for me to comment on the closure of the border. It is a complex one. It is obvious that you look at the side of the United States, this is the big question that is going to have an impact at home.
What will happen to your turn to investment green ? Do you think speeding it up or rather put it aside ?
It is certainly not going to put it aside. It has been in place for several years and is even integrated into our compensation policy. I think that this will create new opportunities for us.
What have you learned so far from this crisis in terms of human resources ? Your business will come out of the crisis with many employees, or less ?
It has no plans to reduce jobs. The people at Checkout have a job. Certainly that having a global presence diversified will remain. This is how it goes to get the yields where they are. There is a balance to go looking in relation to telework. Invisible borders become even more difficult to see, out of the house. We had the perception that people were less productive. It is just the opposite at the moment, people are connected 20 h on 24, people communicate more than usual. There are more offices abroad or Montreal, while the world is moving closer.
How would you rate the impairment loss related to the crisis of the last few weeks on your assets ?
We communicate our results only in the middle of the year. What I would say is that the Caisse is not immune. But our portfolio is diversified. We entered the crisis with a defensive posture. I would say that people should not make outremesure in the set. Some assets such as shopping centres, it is sure that there is a trend that is being observed. The real estate, some sectors will benefit, such as the industrial. On the other hand the malls are closed at this time. There will be an evolution. The crisis will accelerate these changes-there. Same thing for office space, it is sure that there will be a different perspective when we realise that telework it is functional. You may not need as many offices.
Is this the end of the banking system and/or financial as we know it?
Our canadian banking system is strong, solid, it was the bank of Canada, which coordinates very well with the institutions. It is necessary to avoid saying that it is like the end of the world as we know it. That said, this crisis will have effects at several levels in several sectors of the economy.
Why the large financial institutions, did they not see it coming? What is this translated to their actual ability to assess the risk?
Risk management does not mean to anticipate any possible scenario. Manage the risk-rather it is prepare for challenges that may come. O provided that the markets were overvalued in ways spoken so we had positioned our portfolio accordingly. I think that we are in a strong position, even after the decline of markets.
Is it that the banks, which were bailed out by place by the State, will in turn come to these difficult times?
It has been demonstrated with the measures announced, or $ 4 billion, to help businesses cope with the pandemic COVID-19. It has a sensitivity to what is happening. It has a close relationship with the entire ecosystem in quebec, and all markets or it is. It gave a clear signal of support directly within our mandate, that is, returns to the depositors and the economic development.