CPP Investments’ US$229-million investment in controversial data firm Palantir raises questions about pension fund’s ESG principles

Palantir CEO Alex Karp arrives at a "Tech For Good" event in Paris in May 15, 2019.
Palantir CEO Alex Karp arrives at a "Tech For Good" event in Paris in May 2019. Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board invested over US$229 million in controversial data-mining firm Palantir prior to the company’s public offering, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 12. And while the fund has tripled its investment, critics say its stake in the firm raises questions about its stated commitment to ethical investing. 

Documents show CPP Investments, the investment arm of Canada’s largest pension fund with $434.4 billion under management, held more than 24 million shares when Palantir debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on September 30. That made it the firm’s third-largest shareholder among institutional investors, as of its public listing date.

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