Just 12 months ago, when I addressed alums of CPP Investments in this newsletter, we were coming off one of the best ten-year runs for asset returns in history.
What a difference a year makes. The past ten months have tested us all—citizens, governments, businesses and investors. While I was proud of our performance last year, I’m even more proud of the courage and resilience of our organization over the course of the pandemic. Colleagues working remotely, often under the additional stress of caring for children or elderly parents, collaborated and innovated and found ways to accomplish things we would never have thought possible.
These unusual times have also proven the strength and durability of our long-term approach to investing.
These unusual times have also proven the strength and durability of our long-term approach to investing. In a sense, we have been preparing for this moment for a decade. After the Global Financial Crisis, we put significant effort into enhancing our risk management practices. This included a new integrated risk approach, a financial crisis plan and the testing of our business continuity protocols. We also improved our technology and data capabilities and supporting infrastructure, which allowed us to quickly transition from nine global offices to 1,800 home offices around the world in virtually a moment.
These steps have served us well. In the first quarter of fiscal 2021, our net assets grew to $434.4 billion and the fund generated $22.9 billion in net income. Our 10-year net return stood at 10.7%.
In the months ahead, during the COVID-19 pandemic’s long middle, we will continue to focus on what matters most—employee health and well-being and the long-term implications for our portfolio. As part of this, our Thematic Investing team is looking at four investment areas:
- permanent changes to consumer behaviour,
- long-term policy impact for healthcare and privacy,
- changing global supply chains, and
- impact on cities and infrastructure.
Through this, we have not wavered in our goal of protecting and increasing the retirement funds for more than 20 million Canadians. Those funds must be available for retirees regardless of where we are in the economic cycle. That’s why we take a long-term approach as we search out investments that will retain and increase in value over the course of years, and it is what allows us to navigate through the difficult stretches as well as the prolonged bull markets.
We are confident we will emerge stronger and better prepared for whatever may follow. We wish you and your families well in the months to come.
~ Mark Machin, President and CEO