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OMERS Loses 2.7% in 2020

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Paula Sambo of Bloomberg News reports OMERS has worst loss since 2008 on bad COVID bets: Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, one of Canada’s largest pension funds, posted its worst result since the global financial crisis after suffering big losses in its private equity and real estate holdings. The pension fund, known as OMERS, lost 2.7 per cent on its investments last year, pushing assets to $105 billion (US$84 billion). It’s the worst result since 2008, when it lost 15.3 per cent. “We have been hit very hard by COVID and we’re not making excuses, but the fact is most of our difficulties this year were directly related to COVID,” Blake Hutcheson, who became chief executive officer on June 1, said in an interview. The pension fund fell far short of its 6.9 per cent return benchmark, and also trailed the average 20 per cent increase of Canadian pension plans, as estimated by Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Losses in its consumer-facing investments, including

PSP Investments Investing in US Private Prisons?

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Richard Warnica of the Toronto Star reports Canada’s largest public sector pension recently invested millions in two US private prison giants — less than two years after CPP got out of the sector: A Canadian Crown corporation has invested millions of dollars in two U.S. private prison giants, financial filings reveal, a move one federal union decried as “abhorrent.” In the last half of 2020, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) bought a total of more than 600,000 shares of CoreCivic and the Geo Group, two of the largest providers of private prisons, jails and immigration detention centres in the United States, according to documents filed with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. The moves came even as other large pension funds around the world — including the Canada Pension Plan — have sought to sell off their shares in the private prison sector in recent years amid an escalating backlash from activists and plan members. CoreCivic, Geo and other pri

Leo de Bever on Commercializing Promising Technologies

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AIMCo's former CEO and now Chair of Nautical Energy and Cachet Capital , Leo de Bever, sent me a guest comment on commercializing promising technologies (added emphasis is mine): In your blog comment on Bill Gates’ new book ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,’ you raise some interesting issues around the difficulty of getting to net-zero GHGs by 2050. Short of quitting while we are behind, the only real option is nurturing as many promising technologies as possible and speeding up investment in their adoption. Having worked on that problem since leaving Alberta Investment Management Corporation, I have developed a great respect for entrepreneurs and their backers. As CEO, I had the latitude to fund good opportunities as I saw fit. Being on the other side of that negotiation and having to fight for every dime to commercialize a new technology has been both humbling and educational. When you analyze what slows down technology adoption, it is less about technical merit and r

Mark Wiseman on How the World Can Learn From Canada's Pension Model

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Mark Wiseman, AIMCo's Chair wrote a comment for BNN Bloomberg on how the world can learn from Canada's pension model: Chief among the many challenges brought on by COVID-19 is the acceleration of the global pension crisis. Low interest rates and decreased economic activity are ballooning pension liabilities and challenging return assumptions, ultimately stressing pension plans all over the world. To illustrate this, look no further than America’s largest public pension plan. CalPERS, the pension plan responsible for providing retirement benefits for millions of Californians, is less than 72 per cent funded according to current estimates. 1  The pension situation in much of Europe and Asia is, at best, in a similar position. Canadians are not insulated from this concerning trend. According to research from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, almost three quarters of Canadians agree that there is an emerging retirement income crisis. 2 Canadians are concerned

Top Funds' Activity in Q4 2020

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Wayne Duggan of Benzinga reports on the Q4 13F roundup, going over how Buffett, Einhorn, Ackman and others adjusted their portfolios at the end of last year: The latest round of 13F filings from institutional investors is out, revealing to the world the stocks that some of the richest and most successful investors have been buying and selling. Takeaways From 13F Season: Investors who follow particular fund managers can easily look up what each was buying and selling in the quarter, but other investors may be more interested in overall themes from 13F filings. The fourth quarter of 2020 was a big quarter for the S&P 500, and investors were likely interested in what top managers were buying and selling heading into 2021. Google parent Alphabet has the attention of fund managers in Q4, with Tepper and Klarman selling and Soros buying. Auto stocks have been hot in the market, and Cooperman was buying General Motors on the strength while Soros was taking profits. Buffett took