(Recasts with investment outlook, comments from CEO)
By Andrea Hopkins
TORONTO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Brazil, China and India still offer long-term investment value but a lot of global assets are fully priced and competing with huge sovereign wealth funds is getting harder, one of Canada’s biggest dealmakers said on Thursday.
The head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s biggest pension funds, said market conditions remain difficult because assets are fairly priced, which means deal activity will be below average and CPPIB will have to “pick its spots” to find good investments.
But Mark Wiseman, CPPIB’s chief executive, said he’s optimistic about North American assets and longer-term plays in Brazil, China and India, where economic growth looks set to continue.
“We continue to be somewhat more cautious as it relates to Europe,” Wiseman said in an interview with Reuters.
The CPPIB as well as Canadian pension fund peers, such as the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, have been among the world’s most active dealmakers in recent years, making major bets in Canada and abroad.
But Wiseman said the market is seeing the growth of large and increasingly sophisticated pools of capital in the form of sovereign wealth funds, in Singapore, South Korea, China and the Middle East, all of whom are competing for similar deals.
“Just one example, the Norwegian Pension Plan, really a sovereign wealth fund, is now closing in on $900 billion in assets. They have decided to make more of a push into active management, into areas of real estate in infrastructure, so we are already seeing more competition from them on a global basis,” Wiseman said.
He said that while some dealmakers may have bigger scale than CPPIB, or be able to move more quickly than CPPIB is comfortable doing, it still has advantages.
CPPIB said its assets rose to C$234.4 billion ($206.4 billion) in the second fiscal quarter from C$226.8 billion three months ago, as it notched a gross investment return of 3.4 percent amid solid fixed income performance.
The increase in assets also reflects asset flows into the fund.
“At the end of the day, it is our sophistication and our focus on the long term that really sets us apart. And we ... continue to build a reputation globally as being the partner of choice to transact on large complex transactions.”
1 US dollar = 1.1358 Canadian dollar Reporting by Allison Martell and Andrea Hopkins Editing by W Simon and Diane Craft