08/21/2013 01:57 EDT | Updated 10/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Caisse looks to bolster emerging market investments with senior appointment

MONTREAL - Quebec's pension fund manager is looking to bolster its expanding investments in emerging markets by appointing an experienced executive from the financial arm of the World Bank to head these growing operations.

As the Caisse de depot's 13th executive vice-president, Rashad Kaldany will develop the institutional investor's internal investment capabilities and help Quebec companies capitalize on opportunities in that area.

"With his outstanding track record and extensive knowledge of emerging markets, we will greatly enhance our ability to act on the best business opportunities in these countries, making the Caisse an even stronger institution," CEO Michael Sabia said in a news release.

The Caisse's investments in emerging markets have grown more than 34 per cent in the past 18 months, rising to $12.9 billion at the end of June, up from $9.6 billion at the end of 2011.

The fund manager's strategy calls for them to progressively grow from seven per cent of net assets to exceed 10 per cent at some undetermined point in the future.

Its primary investment targets are Turkey, China, Brazil and Chile, although investments are also made in other countries if opportunities surface that meet the Caisse's investment criteria, said spokesman Maxime Chagnon.

Kaldany has been chief operating officer at the International Finance Corporation, the financial arm of the World Bank Group, for just a few months but has been with the organization for nearly 20 years.

The International Finance Corporation invested US$25 billion last year in emerging markets in the private sector, and Kaldany has managed teams that invested in Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe.

"As executive vice-president, emerging markets, I will make my geographic and industry expertise available to my colleagues to ensure the best investment decisions are made in emerging markets," Kaldany said.

Kaldany, who will be based in Montreal, takes up his duties with the Caisse in September.

His first task will be to develop an internal centre of excellence to support the Caisse's investment teams. The institution already has people working on emerging markets in several divisions, including real estate and private equity.

"We have people in various activities so he's going to be looking at this but it's too early to see if he's going to use people from the inside or outside," Chagnon added in an interview.

Kaldany speaks English, French and Arabic. He has a doctorate in biochemistry from Columbia University and two masters degrees.

The Caisse, which manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance plans, held $185.9 billion in net assets as of June 30.