Caisse de dépôt et placement: Retired public servants demand a commission of inquiry

    MONTREAL, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Association québécoise des
retraité(e)s des secteurs public et parapublic (AQRP), Quebec's largest
independent association representing retired public employees, is demanding an
inquiry into the responsibility borne by the officers who set the investment
policies that led to the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec's expected
losses for 2008. The AQRP also insists that the commission's mandate include
determining whether the Caisse's use of asset-backed commercial paper (ABCP)
was consistent with investment policies approved by these officers.
    "The Caisse de dépôt et placement's expected losses for 2008 will be of
historic proportions. Along with other citizens of Quebec, retirees want to
know where the responsibility for these losses lies. We believe that only a
commission of inquiry can properly shed light on the situation," said
Madelaine Michaud, President of the AQRP.
    For public and parapublic pension plans, the law requires that retirement
committees establish investment policies, which the Caisse must follow.
According to the Caisse, it is the officers of these committees who bear
responsibility for approving the level of risk it applies in managing their
assets. Members of the retirement committees are drawn primarily from the
government and union sectors.
    "The global financial crisis has demonstrated that the risks taken by the
Caisse de dépôt et placement were too great. Since the retirement committees
set investment policy, and since those committees consist primarily of
government and union representatives, we believe that government and unions
should share most of the responsibility for the losses incurred last year by
public and parapublic pension plans," Michaud added. "We are demanding an
inquiry in order to determine whether that presumption is correct."
    According to the most reliable current estimates, the Caisse is likely to
report a loss of 20 to 26 percent for 2008. Private pension funds have
experienced an average loss of 16 percent.
    Public and parapublic pension fund assets accounted for approximately 55
percent of the $155 billion managed by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du
Québec as of December 31, 2007.

    About the AQRP

    The AQRP is Quebec's largest independent organization representing public
and parapublic retirees. Founded in 1968, the organization now numbers nearly
24,000 members who are retired from the Government of Quebec, the Government
of Canada, crown corporations, Quebec municipalities, and the Quebec health
and education systems. Its primary aim is to maintain the quality of life and
purchasing power of retired persons.

For further information:

For further information: Mathieu Santerre, (418) 928-2608,, Source: AQRP

Organization Profile

AQRP - Association québécoise des retraité(e)s des secteurs public et parapublic

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