Canada Pension Chief Urges Reforms

May 17, 2002 ( - The head of Quebec's public pension fund announced he would step down from his post and urged the government to lessen its influence with the fund by, among other things, creating an independent board.

Jean-Claude Scraire, head of Quebec’s $85-billion public pension fund manager, Caisse de depot et placement, suggested that the positions of chairman and chief executive officer be split into two, according to a Reuters news report.

Scraire, who has held both positions for eight years, did not specify his departure date.

Guy Morneau, chief executive of Quebec’s pension board, said in a statement that he was “stunned” by Scraire’s resignation request and hoped for a smooth transition in the Caisse’s executive suite.

Wholly-owned by the Quebec government, the Caisse has managed public pension and insurance funds since its creation in the 1960s and is responsible for providing an adequate return on those assets.

The Caisse has blocked big corporate takeovers over the past 20 years, mainly if Quebec-based companies were being targeted by non-Quebec ones, but its investments have not always paid off.

In the most recent example, the Caisse was forced in March to take a C$1.1 billion provision to cover the sharp loss in the value of a stake in media group Quebecor Inc. which owns Sun Media, Canada’s second-largest newspaper chain, and other publishing, printing and broadcasting assets.