CDPQ Appoints a New Head of Liquid Markets

Last week, CDPQ appointed Vincent Delisle as the new Head of Liquid Markets:
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) today announced the appointment of Vincent Delisle as Head of Liquid Markets, concluding an international recruiting process led by a recognized firm that began last April.

Mr. Delisle has 25 years of experience in asset allocation strategy, global equity markets and portfolio management. He began his career trading stocks and bonds in the 1990s at investment firm Eterna Trust before spending seven years as a Portfolio Strategist at Desjardins Securities from 1997 to 2004.

He then spent fourteen years at Scotia Bank, where he served as Director of Equity Research, Québec and Managing Director, Portfolio and Quantitative Strategy in the Capital Markets division. In these roles, Mr. Delisle was the bank’s chief strategist, and his investment recommendations were followed by thousands of brokers who advised individuals and by Scotia Bank’s institutional clients around the world. For each of the six years from 2013 to 2018, in recognition by his peers for the quality of his work, he was ranked #1 Analyst in Portfolio Strategy in the prestigious Greenwich Associates rankings and for three years in the Brendan Woods International rankings. Before joining CDPQ, Mr. Delisle was Co-Chief Investment Officer at Hexavest. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Université Laval and is a CFA Charterholder.

In his new role as Head of Liquid Markets at CDPQ, Mr. Delisle will be responsible for leading the Equity Markets and Fixed Income teams, and co-leading with Head of Real Assets and Private Equity, Macky Tall, the Investment Funds and External Management team, as well as the Global Research team. He will report to the President and Chief Executive Officer and will sit on the Executive Committee and Investment-Risk Committee.
“Vincent Delisle has a global view of international equity markets and of the economy, proven experience in portfolio construction and a solid investment track record. He is skilled at identifying deep market trends, implementing value-creating strategies and then transforming them into rigorous and efficient decision-making processes,” said Charles Emond, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ. “With his unique combination of experience and abilities, he is an extremely accomplished leader who can position our liquid market portfolios for the next decade to the benefit of our depositors,” he added.

"I’m very proud to join CDPQ, a world-class organization that plays a leading role in Québec’s economic development and that is recognized and respected in the markets for its knowledge and know-how. I’m looking forward to working with the teams to lead CDPQ’s liquid portfolios and continuing to build on the organization’s research capacity and investment fund strategy,” said Vincent Delisle.
Mr. Delisle starts his new position on August 3, 2020.
So, Vincent Delisle takes over as the Head of Liquid Markets at CDPQ.

Basically, everything related to Public Markets -- stocks and bonds -- falls under his responsibility.

Also, the press release clearly states that Mr. Delisle will be co-leading with Head of Real Assets and Private Equity, Macky Tall, the Investment Funds and External Management team, as well as the Global Research team. He will report to the President and Chief Executive Officer and will sit on the Executive Committee and Investment-Risk Committee.

Recall, back in April, Helen Beck was appointed Executive Vice-President and Head of Equity Markets. Ms. Beck also joined the Executive Committee and now reports to the new Head of Liquid Markets.

Marc Cormier, EVP and Head of Fixed Income will also report to Vincent Delisle. As far as Maxime Aucoin, EVP and Head of Total Portfolio, it sounds like he will continue to report to Charles Emond, although I'm not sure who he reports to now so don't quote me.

What do I think of Vincent Delisle? Only met the man once when I was working at PSP and he was a strategist at Scotia Bank. Nice guy, polished, presented great charts, marries macro analysis with sector calls, has an international view.

I don't question his research and presentation skills but he did have a tough time at Hexavest where La Presse reported he stayed for less than two years and left the firm last April after a difficult first quarter that ended with a 30% drop in assets under management.

Delisle was named Co-CIO of Hexavest back in May 2018 when he joined the leadership of the Strategy team working alongside Vital Proulx, the founder and Co-CIO, and Jean-Pierre Couture, the Chief Economist.

But these markets haven't been good to Hexavest and other fundamental shops (look at Bridegewater's woes) and I have heard from a few frustrated clients that they're not happy with Hexavest's performance over the last five years.

Now, to be fair, I don't know exactly what is going on at Hexavest, I think Vital Proulx is an incredible money manager but he has been trying to pass the baton to others without much success and it isn't fair to point fingers at him or anyone else, including Vincent Delisle.

These markets are great for a select few elite hedge funds and quant funds that front-run the Fed and the rest of the funds are getting killed.

When performance is concentrated in a handful of mega cap tech names, it's impossible to beat the index, and some shops are getting massacred.

Of course, when it all blows up, the bearish money managers focused on protecting downside risk will come roaring back but by then, it will be too late, they will have suffered from a severe drain in funds.

Anyway, Vincent Delisle has his work cut out for him, this isn't an easy job and he has to make sure he has everything running well, that collaboration between teams is maintained to maximize knowledge transfer and performance.

No doubt, he will be working closely with Alexandre Synnett, the new EVP and CTO in charge of leveraging technology across CDPQ.

I also have no doubt he was named Head of Liquid Markets because he worked closely with Charles Emond, CDPQ's President and CEO, at Scotia Bank where Emond worked for nearly 20 years as Executive Vice-President, Financial Affairs, Head of Canadian Corporate Banking and Global Head, Investment Banking and Capital Markets.

In short, Emond needed to place someone as Head of Liquid Markets which he knows well, he can trust and who he thinks has the knowledge and experience to add value across stocks, bonds and external fund management.

It also sounds to me like he's grooming Delisle to be the next CIO of CDPQ, following the departure of Roland Lescure a few years ago.

Who else could have been the Head of Liquid Markets at CDPQ? I can give you a short list of names which include Francois Trahan who recently left UBS where he was a managing Director and strategist (waiting to hear from him on his next move), to others like Clement Gignac (SVP and Chief Economist at iA Financial Group and one of my former bosses), Martin Roberge (Cannacord) and Simon Lamy, the best fixed income portfolio manager at CDPQ for over 20 years before politics got the best of him (CDPQ should beg him to come back but he's not interested unless he can make some important HR changes).

That's pretty much it, there aren't a ton of qualified candidates and again, holding a CFA doesn't make you uniquely qualified for this job, you really need a great understanding of public and private markets at a minimum and make sure everything is running like a tight ship.

So, I wish Vincent Delisle the best of luck in this new role and if he wants help, he knows where to reach me but I don't come cheap and have zero tolerance for petty CDPQ politics.

In other CDPQ related news, Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long-Term and Short-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'AAA' and 'F1+', respectively, which is very good news.

And Ivanhoé Cambridge, CDPQ's massive real estate subsidiary, recently hired New York based Raider Hill Advisors to help it with its troubled Retail portfolio (La Presse discussed this here and I wish them a lot of luck restructuring these assets).

Below, an RDI Economie interview (in French) with Vincent Delisle done last year when he was still Co-CIO at Hexavest. Like I said, he's a very sharp and nice guy who understands markets and is able to explain them which comes in handy when he will be called to do more interviews like this representing CDPQ.

And Nobel laureate Paul Krugman says there is “mania” in the stock market as equities continue to rise. The New York Times columnist explains how job gains in May and June were a “blip,” adding policymakers tried to reopen the economy too soon. Krugman says he does not support additional stimulus checks or a universal basic income and claims the national debt is not near “a crisis point.”