The pandemic break at the Caisse de dépôt is well and truly over. In the first six months of the year, the company’s travel expenses increased significantly.
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From 1er From January to June 30, the fund spent more than $5.6 million on travel, or 69% more than the $3.3 million spent for this purpose in the first half of 2019 before the health crisis.
The increase in fund net assets reached 30% between June 2019 and June 2023, significantly higher than operating expenses (+38%), employees working outside Quebec (+33%). Assets outside of Canada (+46%).
Caisse employees made more than 1,300 trips in the first six months of 2023, the company indicated in response to a request for access to information. Newspaper. An average of 3.5 people participated in each trip. Each person spent an average of $1,175 per trip.
About $3.5 million was spent on airline tickets, $1.3 million on hotel reservations and about $700,000 on “meals and other items.”
The Caisse’s CEO, Charles Emond, made eight trips in the first half of 2023 that cost a total of nearly $45,000.
To explain the dramatic increase in travel spending, the organization’s spokeswoman, Kate Monfet, cited “evolving business needs” and “meteoric increases in airfares and travel prices” as “accommodation.”
The fund declined to specify how many people traveled, the destinations visited and the reasons for each trip. Keep in mind that the company has about 1,600 employees.
The company is also discreet about the amounts spent on alcohol during these trips. According to the internal policy, “reimbursement of alcohol consumption will only be made during representative meals with external partners”.
Michel Magnon, an accounting professor at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Management and an expert on governance, insists that an institutional investor like Caisse should hold in-person meetings around the world.
“To establish business partnerships, you need to develop links, relationships and meet,” he says. […] In some cultures, personal contact is very important. Not to forget that knowledge of the field, in teams, is very difficult to acquire.
Mr. Magnon, however, was surprised to see travel costs at Caisse rise significantly.
“In 2023, from a management and governance point of view, we will not be back like 2019. We are in hybrid mode in the sense that we have retained some habits from the pandemic. We realized that a lot of things worked through Zoom or teams, whereas previously, we would systematically meet in person. […] So, we can also expect some reduction in cost.
Note that among state-owned companies, Hydro-Québec won the prize for travel expenses. From July 2022 to June 2023, these reached $55.1 million, a 52% increase over the same period the previous year. Hydro, however, employs more than 22,000 people.
Travel expenses at Fund
- 2023 (first six months): $5.63 million
- 2022: $5.64 million
- 2021: $551,000
- 2020: $786,000
- 2019: $7.0 million