Sent September 5, 2022, 4:13 pm
This is a serious warning from the Court of Auditors. In its report on regulated savings published on Monday, the institute chaired by Pierre Moscovici recommends “ensuring compliance with the particular model of the savings fund within the new CDC group (Caisse des Dépôts, ed)”. He is particularly concerned about the possible search for synergies between the Savings Fund and the Caisse, which could harm its functioning and its primary mission.
The savings fund centralizes the money deposited by the French on their Livret A and their Livret de développement duravole et solidire (LDDS). Caisse des Dépôts is responsible for managing this money. But the recent developments in terms of the activities and financial balance of the Caisse, which became the majority shareholder of La Poste in 2020, make the wise men of rue Cambon fear that the management of the savings fund will be affected.
“The profound transformation of the CDC into a vast group of mandated activities, of quasi-industrial activities with La Poste and of banking, insurance and financial activities with Banque Postale, CNP and BPI France shifts its center of gravity and upsets its structural balance sheet”, they point out in their report.
“If, as highlighted in the report, the savings fund continues to be managed in a separate management framework, the tendency towards the unification of companies and the pooling of functions and resources, which will necessarily increase as part of an overall strategy of group, must not lead to or marginalize or integrate the savings fund into the group ”.
“Great Wall of China”
The Fund assures, in response to the essays, that there is a real “Chinese wall” between the management of the savings fund and the rest of the group. But the Court of Auditors wants to be cautious.
He wants to warn the Caisse against any attempt to “fungitisate the savings fund as part of a global group strategy”, as a traditional banking group might be attempting to do. And he asks for “great rigor in accounting information and a certain vigilance on governance, on the role of the decision-making bodies that guarantee the protection and correct use of French savings”.
“This makes it all the more necessary to carry on the cost accounting project, failing which the risk could appear that the CDC’s ‘sovereign’ assets are perceived as biasing in favor of competitive activities,” insist the wise men. , which already in the spring pinned the public bank on its governance, the opacity of its financial information and its operating costs.
The Court of Auditors also questions the recent expansion of the use of the resources of the savings fund, mainly intended for financing social housing. As part of the recovery plan, launched in 2020 by the government, Caisse des Dépôts injected, through the savings fund, an endowment of 28 billion euros with long-term loans for very diversified beneficiaries.
Diversification of jobs
If the wise recognize the need to “respond to the urgency of recovery”, they regret “a ‘fragmented’ approach, which corresponds to an adaptation of jobs to the opportunities or political needs of the moment, rather than to a strategy based on on long-term goals.
More generally, the Court of Auditors invokes in its report the need to launch “a parliamentary debate” to evaluate the different investment paths to follow in order to use the funds raised by the savings fund well. And formally recommends “updating the doctrine for the use of the fund with respect to the overall investment strategy of the State and that of the European Union”.
There is no doubt that this report will feature prominently on the desk of the future chairman of the supervisory board of the Caisse des Dépôts, whose election will take place on Friday.