Michael Sabia, chief executive officer of the Caisse [CDPDA.UL],
Canada's second-biggest public pension fund, was on the advisory
panel that recommended Canada set up an infrastructure bank with
an aspiration to attract C$4 to C$5 for every C$1 of public
funding for infrastructure projects.
He said a similar entity could be set up in the United States to
address issues around how it approaches public-private
partnerships, a lack of project management experience, the
absence of a pipeline of major projects and the need for
predictable decision making at a political level.
"Attention has got to be paid to that dimension of it or you're
not going to see institutional investors like us having a
significant appetite to be able to do things," Sabia said in an
interview on Monday.
Trump has said he plans to spend $1 trillion over 10 years on
building infrastructure, financing the rebuilding of the
country's roads, bridges and transport systems by attracting
investment from private institutions.
However, the United States is seen by infrastructure investors
as lagging behind countries such as Canada, Australia and the
United Kingdom in the way it structures infrastructure projects
to attract private capital.
Canada's Liberal government is in the process of setting up the
new infrastructure bank, which it wants to have up and running
next year. It is courting foreign investors as well as the major
Canadian funds and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he is
happy to go head-to-head with the United States to compete for
Sabia said the Caisse would wait and see what the new U.S.
administration will do before making investment decisions.
"We need to see, once the administration is in place, what
policies it pursues and what is actually done because it's
actions that count much more than words," he said.
Sabia, who has been chief executive of the Caisse since 2009,
said the Caisse had substantially increased its exposure to the
United States over the past five or six years.
"The United States is the largest economy in the world and I
think we're always going to be able to find opportunities to do
things there which meet our and our risk criteria," he said.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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