Solidarity Box: The first CEO who is not afraid to go and find the tweak in the corners

This week Janie Piqué became the first woman to hold the position of Fonds de Solidarité FTQ as the foundation witnesses a pivotal moment in its history.

“Until recently, I was playing hockey and not afraid to go get in demon in the corner. M.I Pique’s interview magazine.

“I’m a girl with a very high energy level,” she adds. […] For me, it is very important that people get involved. What I want is for our organization to invest more. Gitan [Morin, le précédent PDG] You have paved the way, but I want to accelerate our impact on society. “

Janie Pique, a 53-year-old trained attorney, has worked with the fund for more than 20 years. To date, she held the position of Senior Vice President Investments.

MI Pique reached the head of the box when it had just gone through an eventful period due to the pandemic. Last year, thousands of shareholders withdrew more than $ 3 billion from the fund to avoid a downturn in the markets. The result: the institution’s assets fell sharply, an unusual situation.

However, things started to turn. The fund recovered its financial losses in the second half of 2020, and inflows will reach a record high in the fiscal year ending May 31: $ 1.2 billion.

The spending burst

On the other hand, the fund has struggled to control its expenditures. This has exploded by 14% last year to over $ 226 million due to rising headcount, salary increases, and massive investments in computer systems.

“I can confirm that we are well aware of the issue of administrative fees. Janie Piquet confirms that it is something that we follow very closely.”

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Executive compensation has also jumped dramatically in recent years. Since 2017, they have received bonuses in fund shares. Last year, Mr Morin earned a total of $ 1.3 million, up 34% from 2016.

Business sales

The post-crisis period is sure to occupy the new CEO over the next few months. She fears the pandemic will prompt many Quebec entrepreneurs to ditch the towel.

“I get the impression that the period we have just lived will make a lot of people think again about their continuing taste and that they might decide to put up a banner for sale,” she said.

Like Investissement Québec and Caisse de dépôt, Fonds FTQ does not always succeed in promoting retention of ownership of works shown at auction in Quebec. Outside investors with deep pockets sometimes play a spoiler.

Thus, in recent years, Quebec lost control of flagship ships such as RONA, St-Hubert, Camso and Varitron. In Camso’s case, Fonds FTQ made a good profit by selling its shares to the buyer of Magog, the French giant Michelin.

“It’s very difficult to have a file on your desk that an entrepreneur wants to sell in,” says M.I Beic. You say to yourself, “Oh my God, we’ve built this business for years, they are pillars in their society, and there are hundreds of jobs.” And when you see that there are huge prices being paid, it’s not easy. Unfortunately, we run away. “

It gave a counter example: Fonds FTQ’s acquisition of a majority stake in Les Brasseurs du Nord (Boréale), in 2013.

“She left the money on the table because it was important for her to sell to someone who would continue her values,” says Laura Ortenowski, co-founder of the company.

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The cup is ready

Moreover, Fonds FTQ does not intend to sell its most obvious investment: an investment of $ 11.3 million in 2009 in the capital of Groupe CH, owner of the Montreal Canadiens.

“Maybe they could give me this gift, in my first year as President, to win the Stanley Cup,” M. laughs.I Beic. It would be very amazing! ”

The Fonds FTQ in short

  • Active (as of November 30, 2020): 15.6 gm dollars
  • Performance (year ending May 31, 2020): 0,8%
  • Contributors: 706,000
  • employees: About 650

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