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Canada’s Largest Pension Fund to Stay Away From Crypto After Writing off FTX Investment

Canada’s Largest Pension Fund to Stay Away From Crypto After Writing off FTX Investment

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) – Canada’s largest single-profession pension plan – decided not to rush into another cryptocurrency investment following its bad experience with FTX. 

The organization was among the prominent backers of the now-bankrupt exchange, investing $95 million. The dramatic crash, though, shrank that sum to virtually zero.

Change of Heart After the FTX Implosion

Jo Taylor – Chief Executive Officer of the $190 billion pension plan – told the Financial Times that the entity will refrain from cryptocurrency investments due to the losses triggered by the FTX meltdown. He said the decision was based in part on “feedback from our members,” who presumably criticized the fund’s initial interaction with the collapsed platform:

“We’ve had some learnings from the investment. We’ve had feedback from our members. We regret any loss on their behalf.”

OTPP has previously shown support toward FTX, making two separate investments in 2021 and early 2022 for a total of $95 million. Back then, the exchange was among the leaders in its field while the crypto market was in a bull run. 

While the fund’s investment accounted for less than 0.05% of its total assets, OTPP faced criticism (like many others) for dealing with a company whose founder – Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) – is accused of fraudulent activities.

Numerous agencies and failed investors took turns to name the former CEO of FTX as the main culprit behind the demise, arguing his goal was to embezzle assets from customers.

After spending a brief time in a Bahamian jail at the end of last year (shortly after the collapse), he was deported to the USA. However, the local authorities allowed him to live at his parents’ house under a whopping $250 million bond.

A trial set for the beginning of October will determine whether he had a hand in the event and rule out his possible punishment. If found guilty, the 31-year-old could spend his life behind bars. 

CDPQ Lost Funds due to Celsius

Another Canadian pension fund giant that had a bad experience in the crypto field last year is Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ). It lost $150 million after investing in the cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius. CEO Charles Emond outlined that his entity had conducted proper due diligence before jumping on the bandwagon, albeit it sill parted with the sum:

“The due diligence was quite extensive, with many experts and consultants involved. The team came in cautiously. We had a 4% equity stake. The conversations we had internally were pretty straightforward. The teams are accountable for that.”

Celsius filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US last summer after pausing withdrawals. Similar to OTPP, CDPQ vowed to stay away from any crypto forays following the unsuccessful investment.