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Head of $247 Billion Fund Says China-U.S. Tension Here to Stay

Paula Sambo and Sandrine Rastello

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When Michael Sabia became head of the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec about 11 years ago, globalization was in full swing. As he prepares to step down, that momentum is fading and investors will need to adapt, he said.

Sabia, who will leave his post as chief executive officer of Canada’s second largest pension fund in February, said the world is fracturing into huge regions of influence.

“The conflict between China and the United States is not going away anytime soon,” the 66-year-old told reporters after a speech in Montreal. “I think it is going to change some global trading patterns, it is potentially going to change some important things around the evolution of technology, 5G.”

Qualified People

Under Sabia’s tenure, the Caisse dove into international markets. About 64% of the fund, which manages the pension savings for the province of Quebec, is now in global markets versus 36% in 2009. That diversification helped drive annual returns of 9.9% annually over the past 10 years, pushing assets under management to C$326.7 billion ($247 billion).

Sabia is leaving one year ahead of schedule to lead the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Under his mandate, the fund intensified its efforts to fulfill its twin mandates: generating optimal returns while contributing to Quebec’s economic development.

His successor has yet to be chosen.

“I don’t think this job should scare anybody away,” he said. “This is one of the great, great jobs in Canada,” He added that he was sure “there will be lots of very qualified people in addition to some of the members of our team who are currently at La Caisse.“

To contact the reporters on this story: Paula Sambo in Toronto at psambo@bloomberg.net;Sandrine Rastello in Montreal at srastello@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft at ngammeltoft@bloomberg.net, ;David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net, Jacqueline Thorpe

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