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Canadian pension giant cancels $150 million Celsius investment

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Canadian pension giant cancels $150 million Celsius investment

Canada’s second-largest pension fund manager has written off its $150 million investment in crypto lending platform Celsius Network and admitted it got into crypto ‘too soon’.

Charles Emond, chief executive of Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ), said his investment in Celsius last October marked the end of his foray into the digital asset industry.

Celsius has become one of the biggest names to be caught out by the sharp fall in the price of digital assets in the spring. In June, it froze customer withdrawals and weeks later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York, a move that exposed a $1.2 billion hole in the company’s balance sheet.

CDPQ, the $304 billion investment firm that manages pension plans and insurance programs in Quebec, said Wednesday that the stake in Celsius was delisted “out of an abundance of caution.”

“For us, it is clear when you look at all of this, even if the last chapter is not written, that we entered too early in an industry that was in transition, with a company that had to manage extremely rapid growth” , Emond said.

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The group’s comments on Wednesday marked a stark contrast to October, when it said its investment in Celsius was a sign of his “conviction” in blockchain technology.

The delisting of the group’s Celsius holdings – a small part of its overall portfolio – came as the fund manager reported a drop in assets of C$28 billion ($22 billion) in the six months to the end of June this year. The CDPQ said its portfolio was hit by a “rare and simultaneous” decline in stock and bond markets, which caused its portfolio to fall 7.9%.

“The first six months of the year were very difficult,” Emond said, adding that his portfolio performed even better than its benchmark, which was down 10.5%.

Responding publicly for the first time since Celsius’ bankruptcy, Emond said: “Whether it’s Celsius or any other investment, needless to say, when we cancel it, we’re disappointed with the outcome and not happy.”

Emond said he was aware there were challenges regarding crypto investments, but that “we may have underestimated the challenges.”

He felt “a lot of empathy” for Celsius investorsand said the fund manager was “reserving our comments and exploring our legal options” related to the situation.

When asked if he regretted the Celsius investment, Emond replied, “As an investor, it’s a constant, never-ending learning process. You learn and make sure you don’t repeat the mistake. He added that the company never takes “any dollar loss lightly.”

Emond declined to go into specifics about the internal repercussions of the investment. However, he added that “teams will be responsible, as they always are.”

He also confirmed that the CDPQ was not interested in new investments in crypto, but said the pension fund manager was still optimistic about the future of blockchain technology. “The straight answer would be yes. . . you know, in these disruptive technologies, there are ups and downs.

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