Mar­i­juana sec­tor ‘not an area of fo­cus’ for Canada Pen­sion Plan board in­vest­ments

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST -

A spokesman for the Canada Pen­sion Plan In­vest­ment Board says it is not yet in­ter­ested in mak­ing di­rect in­vest­ments in Canada’s newly le­gal­ized recre­ational mar­i­juana in­dus­try.

Michel Le­duc, global head of pub­lic af­fairs and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, says the sec­tor, which be­gan sell­ing le­gal pot on Wed­nes­day, is “not an area of fo­cus” for the or­ga­ni­za­tion that in­vests Canada Pen­sion Plan funds on be­half of about 20 mil­lion Cana­dian con­trib­u­tors and ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

He says CPPIB’s “tiny, tiny” ex­po­sure to the cannabis busi­ness is in­di­rect and is the re­sult of pot com­pa­nies get­ting big enough to dis­place more tra­di­tional cor­po­ra­tions on stock mar­ket in­dexes.

Le­duc says fund man­agers are fo­cused on op­tions to in­vest in broad pro­grams in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture, com­mer­cial real es­tate and data tech­nol­ogy, leav­ing few re­sources for emerg­ing op­tions like cannabis and cryp­tocur­ren­cies.

He adds the CPPIB tries to be ge­o­graph­i­cally di­ver­si­fied, which trans­lates into only about 15 per cent of its funds be­ing in­vested in Canada. Still, he says, the or­ga­ni­za­tion that had net as­sets of about $367 bil­lion as of June 30 could some­day in­vest in a cannabis com­pany.

“It’s not that we’re rul­ing it out. It’s just that we have our plate full with all sorts of dif­fer­ent value con­vic­tions around other themes,” he said. “We have a very healthy risk-re­turn ap­petite but we’re also a very pru­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion ... We tend not to be in­flu­enced by very spe­cific things and look more at broader, dis­rup­tive trends.”

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