CPP board takes a pass on cannabis

By The Canadian Press | October 17, 2018 | Last updated on October 17, 2018
1 min read
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A spokesman for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board says it is not yet interested in making direct investments in Canada’s newly legalized recreational marijuana industry.

Michel Leduc, global head of public affairs and communications, says the sector, which began selling legal pot on Wednesday, is “not an area of focus” for the organization that invests Canada Pension Plan funds on behalf of about 20 million Canadian contributors and beneficiaries.

He says CPPIB’s “tiny, tiny” exposure to the cannabis business is indirect and is the result of pot companies getting big enough to displace more traditional corporations on stock market indexes.

Leduc says fund managers are focused on options to invest in broad programs including infrastructure, commercial real estate and data technology, leaving few resources for emerging options like cannabis and cryptocurrencies.

He adds the CPPIB tries to be geographically diversified, which translates into only about 15% of its funds being invested in Canada.

Still, he says, the organization that had net assets of about $367 billion as of June 30 could someday invest in a cannabis company.

“It’s not that we’re ruling it out. It’s just that we have our plate full with all sorts of different value convictions around other themes,” he said.

“We have a very healthy risk-return appetite but we’re also a very prudent organization […]. We tend not to be influenced by very specific things and look more at broader, disruptive trends.”

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