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Canada's pension fund giant still investing in Britain, betting on shopping malls

Alanna Petroff
Senior Economics Correspondent at Yahoo Finance UK

One of the largest pension funds in the world keeps investing in the UK in the face of Brexit risks and uncertainties.

“We have continued investing in the UK since the [2016] vote,” said Alain Carrier, a s enior managing director at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). “We’ve managed to find opportunities which we think were priced interestingly and effectively for us.”

The fund, which has 368bn Canadian dollars (£211bn) in assets, is among the 10 largest pensions funds in the world, according to Willis Towers Watson. Carrier manages close to 80bn Canadian dollars (£46bn) of investments across Europe, with about one-third of that money in the UK.

The fund spreads its investments in stocks, property, private equity, and bonds, among other assets. And it focuses on long-term investments.

“We still don’t know what the outcome is going to be [with Brexit]. We don’t have a crystal ball, but we have the luxury of time,” Carrier said during an exclusive interview with Yahoo Finance UK at the   World Economic Forum (WEF)  in  Davos, Switzerland. 

The CPPIB owns a range of real estate and shopping centres in the UK, including stakes in both the Grand Central Shopping Centre and Bullring centre in Birmingham.

Carrier said the rising popularity of online shopping wasn’t a concern for the fund.

“When we think about shopping malls, we actually look at destination centres. It’s not just a shopping arcade. These centres have to have an attractiveness beyond just shopping: It’s theatre, it’s food, it’s places where people congregate. These are the malls that will survive,” he said.

Grand Central Shopping Centre in Birmingham is 50% owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images

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