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A building with a TD Canada Trust sign in Toronto’s financial district, July 24, 2012.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

The investment arm of the pension plan for federal public servants and the Canadian Forces exhibits a rare trait among deal makers: it rarely talks about its transactions.

While such bigger as Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board are more than happy to discuss even the smallest deals, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board opts to fly under the radar.

The latest proof of this reticence came last week when PSP bought a 50-per-cent stake in the TD Canada Trust officer tower in Toronto from OMERS. When the Financial Post wrote a story, the seller was willing to chat, but PSP declined to comment. In fact, they wouldn't even confirm the purchase – that came from industry sources.

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On one hand, you could argue the latest $465-million deal is immaterial to PSP's total portfolio. And it's true PSP discloses its investments and holds an annual meeting open to the public. The pension plan's also making money, with its private equity portfolio returning 7.7 per cent last year.

But it wouldn't hurt to explain a little more, or at least confirm a purchase – especially when PSP pledged not too long ago to participate in more private equity deals.

To be fair, PSP isn't always tight-lipped. When it teamed up with British Columbia Investment Management Corp. to buy TimberWest Forest Corp. for $1-billion in 2011, a spokesperson explained some the motivating factors. But for the most part, including the potential initial public offering of Telesat, PSP stays mum.

As of March, 2012, the date of its latest annual report, PSP's private equity holdings totalled $6.4-billion,or 10 per cent of its portfolio, and its real estate holdings amounted to $7.1-billion. In 2011, the pension fund said it wanted to bump its private equity allocation to 14 per cent of its total portfolio.

Relative to the pension giants, PSP is small, with net assets totalling $64.5-billion at the end of its last fiscal year. CPPIB's assets amount to $162-billion and Teachers' added to $116-billion.

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About the Author
Reporter and Streetwise columnist

Tim Kiladze is a business reporter with The Globe and Mail. Before crossing over to journalism, he worked in equity capital markets at National Bank Financial and in fixed-income sales and trading at RBC Dominion Securities. Tim graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and also earned a Bachelor in Commerce in finance from McGill University. More

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