* CEO Wiseman says investors may be overconfident in
* Pledges to walk away from deals if prices too high
* Sees opportunities in N.American private equity and Latam,
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Aug 9 Private equity probably offers
North America's best investment opportunities at present, one of
Canada's biggest dealmakers said on Friday, but investors are
likely wrong to assume that global markets have returned to
The head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said he was
prepared to walk away from future deals if pricing gets too
"I'm surprised by the degree of stability in markets, and
that particularly relates to Europe," Mark Wiseman, CPPIB's
Chief Executive, said in an interview with Reuters.
"I would suggest that overall, investors seem to be getting
increasingly comfortable with a global return to normalcy. I'm
not sure if that comfort is well placed," he said.
The CPPIB as well as Canadian pension fund peers, such as
the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Caisse de dépôt et
placement du Québec, have been among the world's most active
dealmakers in recent years, making major bets in Canada and
CPPIB manages Canada's national pension fund and routinely
makes major acquisitions in global real estate, infrastructure
and private equity, with recent investments that include
shopping malls in Canada, the United Kingdom and Brazil as well
office space in Japan and central London.
But Wiseman said the fund will make fewer deals if rising
investor confidence drives prices too high.
"There is a risk that investors will ignore some of the
fundamental issues that still exist in global markets and global
economies and will be tempted to overpay, and we have to be sure
that when that happens, we simply let transactions and
opportunities pass us by," he said.
"When other people are willing to pay more, we can simply
leave our capital invested in passive alternatives ... (and) it
means fewer deals."
Wiseman said he sees opportunities across asset classes and
geographical regions in the months ahead, including real estate
deals in growth markets that may be out of favor, and
infrastructure investments in Latin America and Europe.
"I think in private equity, probably the opportunity set
that is most interesting at the present time is North America,"
The CPPIB said its assets rose to C$188.9 billion in the
first fiscal quarter from C$183.3 billion three months ago, as
it notched a gross investment return of just 1.1 percent amid
rising interest rates and bumpy equity markets.
The C$5.6 billion increase in assets consisted of C$1.9
billion in net investment income after operating costs and C$3.7
billion in net contributions.
Its asset mix at the end of June stood at 31.8 percent
public equities, 17.7 percent private equities, 33.6 percent
fixed income, 11.1 percent real estate and 5.8 percent