Caisse premiums: that’s beyond comprehension

It’s beyond comprehension. Thanks to his awards, Charles Émond, the CEO of the Caisse de dépôt et placement, won the $ 6.3 million round in 2021.

Be careful: Charles Émond alone pocketed more money than all 29 members of the Legault government cabinet. Prime Minister François Legault and his 28 ministers shared a total salary of $ 5.3 million, an average of $ 183,000 per ministerial head.

It has no tail or head. But what do you want, in the world of high finance, juicy performance bonuses, commonly referred to as variable pay, are commonplace. And the Caisse de dépôt et placement, like other large sovereign pension funds, benefits greatly, very widely.

Competition, it is claimed, is what it takes to attract good portfolio managers.

To paraphrase the slogan of the Hygrade sausage: in the world of high finance, the higher the premiums, the more you want, the more you want, the higher the premiums.

But big bonuses are by no means a guarantee of big returns, so to speak.

As my colleague Sylvain Larocque reported last week, in 2021 the Caisse paid its employees performance bonuses for a total value of some $ 188 million.

CEO Charles Émond and five senior executives shared a sizeable $ 12.1 million jackpot on performance bonuses in 2021.

For his part, Émond received a hefty performance bonus of $ 3.8 million, 38% more than his 2020 premium. $ 5 million. That’s not all …

In addition to his multi-million dollar annual salary, Mr. Émond negotiated a “compensatory amounts” pact when he was hired in February 2019 for the position of “First Vice President, Quebec, Private Investments and Planning of the Caisse.

Indeed, by leaving his former position of v.-p. at the Bank of Scotia to work for the Caisse, Charles Émond secured a special grant of $ 3,964,000 from the Caisse’s Board of Directors as “compensatory amounts for his hire,” including $ 713,000 in 2019, $ 1,482,000 in 2020 and $ 1,769,000 in 2021.

So, concretely, for the year 2021, CEO Émond thus received a total remuneration of $ 6.27 million.

Then follow the top five vice presidents:

  • Emmanuel Jaclot, Infrastructure: $ 3.07 million
  • Martin Laguerre, Private Investments: $ 2.7 million
  • Vincent Delisle, Liquid Markets: $ 2.23 million
  • Marc-André Blanchard, World Cup: $ 2.13 million
  • Kim Tomassin, Quebec: $ 1.88 million
  • Listen to Michel Girard’s economic report on QUB radio:


What factor is attributed to the very strong increase (+ 26.6%) in the remuneration of the Caisse’s senior management in 2021? The impact of the Caisse’s good performance on the calculation of performance bonuses offered to executives.

In 2021, the Caisse reported a return of 13.5%, its best return since 2010.

But beware, this 13.5% return is still slightly lower than the median return of diversified pension fund portfolio managers. According to LifeWorks Group’s Mutual Fund Performance Universe Performance Survey, the median for diversified funds is 13.83% in 2021.

It should also be noted that in 2021, a “small” investor could beat the Caisse with a 14% return by investing its assets in only three index funds, or 35% in bonds (FTSE Canada Universe Index), 32.5 % in Canadian equities (S & P / TSX index) and 32.5% in global equities (MSCI world index).


Since Charles Émond joined the Caisse in early 2019, the Caisse’s investment assets in Quebec have increased by $ 14.2 billion from $ 63.8 billion (2018) to $ 78 billion in 2021.

At first glance, this may seem extraordinary. Sorry, but this is not the case. “Quebec” assets are growing at a much slower rate than the Caisse’s total assets, which are $ 419.8 billion.

While the “Quebec” assets in the Caisse’s portfolio increased by 22%, the Caisse’s total assets grew by 35.6%.

At the end of 2021, “Quebec” assets accounted for 18.6% of the Caisse’s total assets. In 2018, the year before Mr. Émond was hired as the first vice-president of Québec et Placements privés, “Quebec” assets accounted for 20.6% of the Caisse de dépôt’s total assets!

The weight of Quebec in the total assets of the Caisse’s portfolio thus lost two percentage points under the senior management of Charles Émond.

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