Michael Sabia talks about responsible investing and the Caisse’s IT business and operational models.

Q: A few years ago, the Caisse de dépôtet placement du Québec endorsed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Is this still part of your philosophy?

A: Very much so. We recently completed the review of our responsible investing philosophy. As a public investor, it’s the right thing to do, and it’s going to continue to be an important element of our approach. Up to now, our focus has been mainly on engaging companies in a dialogue regarding compensation policies, for instance. We’re now ready to make some choices with regard to products that we are not going to invest in over the next few years.

Q: We recently heard that the Caisse would be revising its information technology business model. What does this involve?

A: Our ability to share information inside our organization is crucial for us. Up to now, our information system was designed to meet [individual] needs in the organization. We needed to change our architecture to facilitate sharing within the organization. Also, the Caisse has traditionally relied on a lot of consultants. To build strong knowledge within the organization, we are moving away from that model by replacing consultants with actual employees.

Q: The Caisse has reduced its expenses, thanks to the implementation of a new operational model. Have all of the efforts in this direction already been made?

A: It’s an ongoing process, but the large part is done. We’re always looking for opportunities to become more efficient and reduce costs. Since the early part of 2009, we’ve reduced our costs by 14%, or $43 million. We’re among the best institutional investors around the world in that regard. At the end of 2010, we were at 19.4¢ per $1,000 of assets, which already represents world-class performance.

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. This article first appeared in Benefits Canada.

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