News release 2023 Results

CDPQ posted a 7.2% one-year return and net assets reached $434 billion, up $32 billion

Finance Montréal,

CDPQ today presented its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2023. The weighted average return on its depositors’ funds was 7.2% in 2023, in line with its benchmark portfolio’s 7.3% return. Over five years, the annualized return was 6.4%, outpacing the 5.9% of the benchmark portfolio, which represents close to $12 billion in value added. Over ten years, the annualized return was 7.4%, also higher than its benchmark portfolio which stood at 6.5%, producing over $28 billion in value added. As at December 31, 2023, CDPQ’s net assets totalled $434 billion.

“The year 2023 was marked by highly volatile bond markets and a historic concentration of gains from a handful of U.S. tech stocks that drove the main stock indexes. Faced with this context, our portfolio performed well, and our depositors’ plans continue to be in excellent financial health,” said Charles Emond, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDPQ.

“Since 2020, investors have had to weather market conditions that ranged from one extreme to the other. In such environments, our portfolio has grown by nearly $100 billion over the period. We may reach a crossroads in the year ahead, with many central banks likely to pivot, but the scope and sequence remain unknown. With a backdrop of downward but persistent inflationary pressure combined with lingering volatility, our portfolio remains well positioned to keep delivering the long-term returns our depositors need,” concluded Charles Emond.

Return highlights

In the past few years, there has been a more pronounced variation in returns, year over year, in most asset classes. This is particularly the case for stock and bond markets, which, following a severe and simultaneous correction in 2022, bolstered CDPQ’s performance in 2023. Following a period of considerable returns, private equity was affected by the sharp rise in rates and the economic slowdown. Impacted by the same economic factors, the Real Estate portfolio—which posted the best return in 2022—also had to contend with structural trends in its industry. The Infrastructure portfolio sustained its momentum of recent years by continuing to provide a good combination of protection against inflation and attractive current returns.

CDPQ manages the funds of 48 depositors and adapts investment strategies to meet their objectives, taking into account their different risk tolerances and investment policies. The portfolio’s one-year, five-year and ten-year returns represent the weighted average of these funds. In 2023, the spread in the returns for CDPQ’s eight main depositors was fairly wide, ranging from 6.3% to 9.3% for one year. Over longer periods, the annualized return on their funds varied between 4.9% and 7.3% over five years, and between 6.2% and 8.3% over ten years.

Results by asset class.

CDPQ’s investment results totalled $28 billion for one year, $108 billion over five years and $207 billion over ten years.

Fixed Income: Bonds lifted by higher yields, outpace their index

The 2023 bond market was characterized by higher yields and the narrowing of corporate credit spreads. Volatility remained a highlight during the year: 10‑year bond yields fluctuated between 3.3% and 5.0%, finishing the year stable in the United States and down 0.2% in Canada. For one year, the asset class posted an 8.1% return, compared with 7.7% for its benchmark index. This return is in part attributable to the portfolio’s positioning in government debt, which benefited from lower rates in certain emerging countries, good execution in corporate credit and premiums on private debt that foster a high current return.

Over five years, the asset class posted a 1.7% annualized return, which was limited by the weaker performance in 2022 in the wake of historic rate hikes, but remains above its index’s 0.8% return. Over the period, it benefited from private credit activities, an important driver of performance, thanks in part to the high current return on this kind of debt and the favourable execution of all mandates.

Real Assets

Real Assets is a class composed of the Real Estate and Infrastructure portfolios, which have quite different industry challenges.

Infrastructure: Assets that continue to perform well against inflationary pressure

In 2023, the portfolio continued its good performance of recent years, generating a 9.6% return against an index at 0.3%. Assets in essential sectors such as transportation and renewable energy were among the performance drivers, as was the current return. With slower transaction activity in 2023, the team remained disciplined in managing its portfolio, both in selecting acquisitions and in sales and syndication activities.

Over five years, the annualized return was 9.5%, above its index’s 5.9%, primarily due to investments in renewable and transition energy and in port and telecommunications assets.

Real Estate: Lower performance, but above the index in a transforming industry

The market was difficult for real estate in 2023, which is reflected by the benchmark index’s -10.0% one-year return. Despite economic challenges and structural issues in some sectors such as offices, the Real Estate portfolio demonstrated more resilience, and the repositioning toward promising sectors such as logistics that began in 2020 mitigated the decrease in value. As such, the portfolio recorded a -6.2% return for one year, above its index. In 2023, teams remained selective in the slowest transactional market in 15 years, with acquisitions in promising sectors of the future aligned with the portfolio’s evolution, as well as disciplined dispositions.

Over five years, the annualized return was -0.5%, compared with 0.8% for the index, notably due to the portfolio’s overweighting in Canadian shopping centres at the beginning of the period. The strategic repositioning over the last few years, which represented around 300 transactions totalling over $50 billion, is nevertheless bearing fruit: since the pivot, $5.5 billion in value added has been generated compared with the benchmark index.


The Equities asset class is composed of Equity Markets and Private Equity, which have seen vastly different market conditions in recent years.

Equity Markets: High return, above the index in a hyper-concentrated market

Since 2020, a few large public U.S. tech companies have dominated the performance of the main stock indexes, creating a phenomenon of historically concentrated gains. For example, this handful of stocks represented 63% of the S&P 500’s performance in 2023. In this context, the Equity Markets portfolio, which is more diversified in its allocation to different sectors, outperformed its index’s 17.4% with a return of 17.7% for one year. The results were driven by growth stocks, as well as by large positions in Québec companies, which performed well.

Over five years, the portfolio recorded an annualized return of 9.0%, below its index’s 10.0%, due to lower exposure to large U.S. growth and tech stocks at the beginning of the period. The current exposure enables leveraging the potential of these stocks, while avoiding an overconcentration as evidenced in the markets.

Private Equity: Following a period of strong returns, rate hikes affect the portfolio

For one year, the portfolio posted 1.0%, below the 10.5% of its index, which partially reflects public stock indexes. The increase in financing costs, which affected certain private companies, impacted this return. This slowdown was expected after the portfolio produced considerable returns in recent years. Some sectors were hit harder, including health care as it returned to normal activities following years of high volumes related to the pandemic. In contrast, private investments in Québec generated good returns. The Private Equity team rigorously pursued the plan to monetize certain assets, with strategic sales achieved during the year.

Over five years, the annualized return was 14.0%, above its index’s 12.4%, due to the careful selection of direct portfolio investments in the technology, financial and consumer goods sectors.

All teams rallied to fully play our role in Québec’s economic development

In 2023, CDPQ’s assets in Québec rose significantly toward its ambition of $100 billion in 2026, with an increase of $10 billion in one year, bringing the total to $88 billion.

“In 2023, our investments in Québec made a solid contribution to our results. I’m especially proud of our teams’ work across all asset classes, who, together, leveraged their expertise and networks to meet the growth and international expansion objectives of Québec companies. They also took part in different major structuring projects and supported the climate transition, which are central to Québec’s economic development,” noted Charles Emond.

Some achievements during the year:

Support for growing Québec’s companies and expertise

  • An investment in Cogeco Communications, a Québec leader that ranks among the top 10 cable companies in North America, following the purchase of a block of shares held by Rogers Communications Inc. Already a partner in Cogeco’s expansion over the last few years, CDPQ now holds $350 million in the company’s capital and will continue to support its North American growth.
  • An investment in Solotech, a global leader in audiovisual and entertainment technology, to facilitate its international expansion. This is the largest financial investment in the company in 10 years, and a return by CDPQ as a shareholder.
  • An investment in Vooban, a rapidly growing Québec company in applied artificial intelligence services, to support its growth and expansion ambitions, particularly in Ontario and the United States.
  • Most recently, support for Metro Supply Chain’s acquisition of SCI Group Inc., representing the group’s 10th acquisition since partnering with CDPQ in 2018.

Major real estate and infrastructure projects

  • Achievement of a milestone in delivering the REM with the commissioning of the South Shore Branch between Gare Centrale Station and Brossard on July 31, 2023. Once completed, the 67-km project will represent the longest automated light metro line in the world.
  • Conclusion of an agreement in principle with the Government of Québec for Ivanhoé Cambridge to conduct a feasibility study on converting part of the old Royal Victoria Hospital site into a world-class university campus.
  • A $355-million investment to acquire 50% of the A25 Concession, a 7.2-km network comprised of a toll road and bridge on the A25 in Montréal from Transurban, an Australian company.
  • Mandate awarded to CDPQ Infra to recommend one or more solutions for a structuring transportation project for the Communauté métropolitaine de Québec.
  • Cadence, a consortium that includes CDPQ Infra, qualified alongside two others for the procurement process of the High Frequency Rail (HFR) project between Québec City and Toronto.

Investments in support of a more sustainable economy

  • In the promising battery sector, financing of around $200 million (USD 150 million) in convertible debt in Northvolt AB to contribute to completing the Northvolt Six project, a fully integrated battery plant in Saint‑Basile‑le‑Grand and McMasterville in Québec.
  • An additional investment in Boralex, a renewable energy leader specialized in wind, solar, hydroelectricity and storage, bringing CDPQ’s stake to 15%.

Also of note is the ambition to more than double the size of amounts entrusted to external Québec managers, to reach $8 billion by 2028, and thereby promote the growth of the asset management industry in its local market.

Strong and internationally recognized leadership in sustainable investing

In 2023, through its initiatives and international recognition, CDPQ continued to exercise strong leadership in sustainable investing. For example, Ivanhoé Cambridge became the first real estate investor to issue a senior unsecured sustainability bond obligation in Canada in the amount of $300 million.

In addition, CDPQ ranked first in the world, alongside three other international investors, in the Global SWF’s 2023 GSR ranking, a benchmark in assessing the governance, sustainability and resilience practices of 200 sovereign wealth and pension funds worldwide. CDPQ was also the first Canadian pension fund to receive the Terra Carta Seal from the Sustainable Markets Initiative in recognition of its leadership on sustainability.

More details on CDPQ’s sustainable investing strategy, including its progress on climate targets, the advancement of its commitments and initiatives in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as governance, will be presented in the Sustainable Investing Report published in the spring.

Integration of the real estate subsidiaries

In January 2024, CDPQ announced the integration of the activities of its real estate subsidiaries—Ivanhoé Cambridge and Otéra Capital—to enable greater focus on investment expertise and generate agility and efficiency gains. As such, the subsidiaries’ investment teams will become investment groups within CDPQ on April 29, 2024, and will continue to conduct their activities in the market under their respective brands, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Otéra Capital. In addition, the corporate services teams already report to their counterparts at CDPQ. At the conclusion of the integration, CDPQ expects to generate annual savings of around $100 million through the synergies achieved in its processes, resources and systems. The integration will conclude within 18 to 24 months.

Financial reporting

CDPQ incurs costs to conduct its activities, including operating expenses, external management fees and transaction costs. As at December 31, 2023, the total cost for internal and external investment management was 59 cents per $100 of average net assets, compared with 48 cents per $100 of average net assets in 2022. This total is up from the prior year due to fees associated with higher asset performance. Operating expenses remained stable at 22 cents per $100 of average net assets. CDPQ’s cost ratio compares favourably with that of its peers.

The credit rating agencies reaffirmed CDPQ’s investment-grade ratings with a stable outlook, namely AAA (DBRS), AAA (S&P), Aaa (Moody’s) and AAA (Fitch Ratings).

Returns Table.


At CDPQ, we invest constructively to generate sustainable returns over the long term. As a global investment group managing funds for public pension and insurance plans, we work alongside our partners to build enterprises that drive performance and progress. We are active in the major financial markets, private equity, infrastructure, real estate and private debt. As at December 31, 2023, CDPQ’s net assets totalled CAD 434 billion. For more information, visit, consult our LinkedIn or Instagram pages, or follow us on X.

CDPQ is a registered trademark owned by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and licensed for use by its subsidiaries.

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