Alberta Investment Management Corporation
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|J. Richard Bird (Chair)|
Kevin Uebelein (Chief Executive Officer)
Dale MacMaster (Chief Investment Officer)
Robin Heard (Chief Financial Officer)
|C$10.8 billion (2017)|
|AUM||C$108.2 billion (2018)|
Number of employees
|Divisions||Money Market & Fixed Income|
Global Tactical Asset Allocation
Infrastructure & Renewable Resources
Private Debt & Loan
Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) is one of Canada's "largest and most diversified institutional investment fund managers" with an "investment portfolio of approximately $108.2 billion" assets under management (AUM) focusing on private equity, public equity, fixed income and private debt as of May 2018. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, AIMCo manages the assets of a diverse set of public sector pensions, endowments, government funds and is one of the world's largest institutional investors.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Assets under management
- 3 Governance and board of directors
- 4 Strategy
- 5 Significant transactions
- 6 Organization
- 7 Clients
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Legislation creating AIMCo was passed by the Alberta legislature on March 20, 2007, and AIMCo became a crown corporation on January 1, 2008. Prior to becoming a Crown corporation in 2008, the corporation's assets were managed by a division of Alberta Finance.
In 2015 AIMCo earned a 9.1% total fund net return on behalf of its clients. By 2015 AIMCo was managing four endowment funds, seven pension plans, nine government funds, eight specialty funds, and style other balanced funds.
Pensions plans whose assets are managed by AIMCo include the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP), Special Forces Pension Plan, Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA), Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP), Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP), Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers Pension Plan (Registered) and Supplementary Retirement Plan for Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers (Unregistered), and the Supplementary Retirement Plan for Public Service Managers. Following the addition of the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund (ATRF) assets under AIMCo's management through the November 2019 UCP budget Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act—if passed—AIMCo would become the "investment manager of all public sector pensions". The change was made as part of the UCP's 2019 budget presented by Finance Minister, Travis Toews. The sole shareholder of these plans is the Alberta Minister of Finance.
Minister Toews said that AIMCo had "provided an annual return of 9.9 per cent on Albertans' investments" in the decade ending in 2019.
Assets under management
In 2008, AIMCo had $75.7 billion assets under management (AUM) and by March 31, 2009 it had $69.0 billion. representing a loss of 10.1%, according to their 2009 Annual Report.:14 By February 2018, AIMCo reported that it had $100 billion assets under management. By November 2019, Minister Toews said that the AUM was $102.8 billion.
|FY year ending March 31||AUM ($ billions)||Investment returns (gross of fees)|
Investment performance highlights as of December 31, 2012 there was $1.6B gross of fees value added, $6.9 B gross investment income, $68.6B assets under management (AUM), 10.8% total AIMCo gross investment return, 12.6% balanced funds gross investment return, and 3.1% government funds gross investment return.:3
According to their 2017 annual report, there was $103.7B assets under management (AUM), 9.3% total fund net investment return, $8.9B net investment income, 10.4% balanced funds net investment return, 3.7% government & specialty funds net investment return.:3 The 2018 annual report for the year ending December 31, 2018, reported that there were $108.2B AUM, 2.3% total net investment return, $94M net value added, 2.5% balanced funds net investment return, $2.4B net investment income, and 1.3% government & specialty funds net investment return.:5
By December 31, 2019 of the total $103.7B, $88.2 B was in balanced funds and $15.5 B was in government and specialty funds.:4
|Asset Class (2015)||AUM (CDN) (billion)||% of Total Fund|
Governance and board of directors
In 2018 board members included J. Richard Bird as chair, Phyllis Clark, Helen Kearns, Ken Kroner, Jim Prieur, Tom Woods, Sharon Sallows, and Robert Vivian Jr.:44 Talisman Energy's Jackie Sheppard was the newest member, replacing Harold Roozen, who served from 2011 until 2018 when he retired.:9 IBM's Robert "Jay" Vivian Jr. had become a member in 2014 along with Suncor's John Ferguson, and Enbridge's J. Richard Bird.:21 Bird, who retired from Enbridge in 2015, after having served in various executive positions there including as CFO and Executive Vice President, was designated as AIMCo CEO in June 2017—effective on October 21, 2017. Mac Van Wielingen had served as Board Chair from December 2014 until he stepped down in 2018. Kevin Uebelein was first named as AIMCo CEO to replace outgoing chairman Charles Baillie in 2014. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta appoints all members of AIMCo's board.
AIMCo was established as a crown corporation by the Province of Alberta to provide independent, arms length investment management services to designated pension funds and provincial public sector bodies and funds, with strong accountability for its investment decisions. According to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation Regulation board members must have demonstrable expertise in areas such as "investment management, finance, accounting or law" or have held senior executive positions. According to AIMCo's 2010/2011 Annual report, the Board of Directors meets six times every year with meetings scheduled one year in advanc:39
AIMCo is one of several "pooled investment portfolios" in Canada that allow for "client-controlled asset allocation for multiple public-sector pension plans and investment funds. Through pooled asset management, these entities achieve sufficient scale to produce significant cost savings through internal investment management and access to alternative asset classes." Through funds like these "Canada is emerging as a world-wide leader in successfully adapting the advantages of large funds to the public sector." These are "arm's-length investment management entities with sufficient scale, independent boards and internal investment management, remunerated at rates competitive with the private sector."
AIMCo's focuses its investments across three broad categories, Equities, Illiquid Investments, and Fixed Income all employing varying strategies.
Equity holdings, which contain both public and private equity, total to 43% (2015) of AUM. The public equity portfolio maintains exposure to a diversifying set of common style factors, as well as stock selection and other idiosyncratic risk. By investing with both private funds and co-venture deals, AIMCo private equity focuses on business that generate stable free cash flow and are operated by strong management teams.
Illiquid Investments, which constitute 22% of AUM, include long-term holdings in Real Estate, Infrastructure and Timberland. The long term Real Estate assets are the core strategy direct investments in office, retail, industrial and multi-unit residential properties located in major Canadian Centres. AIMCo's Infrastructure investments match long duration real return asset characteristics with inflation indexed-pension liabilities. The Infrastructure and Timberland assets are held to provide inflation hedging and a long-term duration match with client obligations.
The Fixed Income portfolios are managed with the objective of capital preservation, liquidity, and risk-controlled return relative to benchmark. These asset classes make up 35% of AIMCo's AUM.
Responsible Investing (RI)
According to the 2018 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report, recognised the progress of major Canadian investors like the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan that are firmly involved in responsible investing as they acknowledge that "sustainability equals profitability."
AIMCo's approach to Responsible Investment is governed by its fiduciary duty to clients and a long-term investment horizon. AIMCo seeks to maximize risk-adjusted returns by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG)) factors into investment analysis across all asset classes. AIMCo's Responsible Investment processes include:
- Exercising proxy voting rights on behalf of AIMCo's clients at annual general meetings of publicly traded companies globally to enhance shareholder value. Votes are guided through AIMCo's Proxy Voting Guidelines, and take into account unique circumstances and markets.
- Engaging with companies to effect positive change when possible and collaborate with like-minded investors to influence corporate behavior, rather than divesting of applicable holdings; an approach called "voice over exit". Engagements are identified through ESG focus areas approved by AIMCo's Responsible Investment Committee.
- Being a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Responsible Investment Association, the Canadian Coalition of Good Governance (CCGG) and several others.
- Disclosing its Responsible Investment policies, guiding documents, activities and proxy voting record on its website.
In December 2010, in an AIMCo-led private equity investment, it acquired a 50 per cent interest in Chile's Autopista Central's 61-kilometer, six-lane toll highway in Santiago on behalf AIMCo clients. In 2011 AIMCo divested its stake in Autopista Central to Abertis for about 1.5 billion. Through significant operational excellence, and eventual monetization, the private equity investment captured significant value add as it saw a positive ROI. In the same year, AIMCo, under a landmark transaction, acquired Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners 50% interest in the Chilean company from Inversiones Grupo Saesa Limitada (Grupo SAESA). This electricity transmission and distribution company is jointly owned by AIMCo and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP).
In 2012, Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan UK and AIMCo, on behalf of its clients, completed the purchase of the BBC Television Centre in West London. Construction began in summer of 2015 to develop homes, offices, hotels, retail and leisure facilities within this 13.7-acre area.
In 2016, AIMCo's Infrastructure Private Equity group became the second largest shareholder of Howard Energy Partners, acquiring a 28% stake from EnLink Midstream Partners, LP. This transaction followed AIMCo's initial investment in August 2016 which allowed for the purchase of up to $500 million of Series B preferred units. Evercore Partners, a New York based investment bank served as financial advisor to AIMCo. AIMCo provided loans to companies such as the privately owned Calfrac Well Services a large hydraulic fracturing company founded by Ron Mathison, a Calgary financier, which entered into a $200 million debt-with-warrants financing agreement. AIMCo also entered into a strategic financing agreement with D.E. Shaw & Co., a $40 billion New York-based hedge fund where it will provide $500 million in capital to pursue renewable energy investments globally. Also in 2016, an AIMCo led consortium of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP), and Wren House Infrastructure Management Limited (Wren House) acquired the London City Airport. This group, called the Consortium, committed to developing the existing and new airline relationship and routes, improving the airport's customer service and generating opportunities for new and existing employees.
In 2017, AIMCo, in partnership with MSD Capital and CCMP Capital acquired Hayward Industries in 2017. Although the consortium of investors acquired a majority stake in Hayward, management will retain a minority stake for investor alignment purposes. Bank of America and Houlihan Lokey served as financial advisors on this transaction while Morgan Stanley, Jefferies LLC, and Nomura Group provided financing for the deal.
AIMCo, in partnership with U.S. based AES Corp. acquired a 100% stake in FTP Power LLC from FirTree Partners for $1.6 billion in cash and debt. This investment gives AIMCo ownership of 150 utility and distributed electrical generation systems across the United States and the United Kingdom, increasing their exposure to green energy globally. Barclays Investment Bank and Citigroup served as co-financial advisors on this transaction. AIMCo, in combination with the Virginia Retirement System successfully recovered $204.5 million after co-leading the class action securities litigation against MF Global, a now defunct broker dealer. AIMCo was advised by Goldman Sachs under a consortium of underwriter defendants. AIMCo alongside long-term infrastructure investors Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) and Hastings Fund Management (Hastings) purchased Porterbrook Rail Finance Limited (Porterbook) for an undisclosed amount. This major rolling stock leasing UK company owns and manages a fleet of approximately 5,900 railway vehicles. AIMCo is still a major stakeholder in this company.
In May 2019, AIMCo announced that it was acquiring an 85 per cent interest in the $1.15 billion 90-kilometre Northern Courier pipeline system owned by the Calgary-based TC Energy's—formerly known as TransCanada Corporation. In a November 4 BNN Bloomberg interview with Amanda Lang, Uebelein said that the purchase was a fit for AIMCo. Northern Courier, which was completed in 2017 has an ongoing contract to ship the Fort Hills Reduced Carbon Life Cycle Dilbit Blend (FRB) to the terminal near Fort McMurray that is owned by Suncor Energy. FRB is produced through a Froth treatment method.
When AIMCo was created on January 1, 2008, it had a staff of 137. By December 31, 2016 the number of employees has grown to 425, across the organization's Investment Management and Risk teams, Investment Operations, and Corporate Services.
AIMCo operates on a cost-recovery basis. Total expenses for the year ended March 31, 2014 were $445 million, equating to 46 cents per $100 of invested assets. AIMCo is increasing internal investments in people and technology to achieve greater cost-efficiencies over the next three years. It expects to internalize the management of an additional $8 billion of assets ($5 billion in equities and $3 billion in inflation sensitive). The net result is a projected savings of $45 million in operating costs every year, starting in 2012. These cost savings may then be passed along to the Clients on whose behalf funds are managed.
AIMCo manages funds for a diverse group of Alberta public sector clients. It creates portfolios that reflect the clients' chosen risk and return profiles. The majority of AIMCo's assets under management come from Alberta public sector pension plans and provincial endowment funds. Collectively known as AIMCo's Balanced Funds, these clients are primarily invested in equities, bonds and inflation sensitive products. Other assets, managed for the Government of Alberta, are generally invested in money market and short-term bonds.
Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund
The Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund was created in 1976 by the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act with three objectives: "to save for the future, to strengthen or diversify the economy, and to improve the quality of life of Albertans.
Initially, the fund received 30 per cent of Alberta's non-renewable resource royalties. During the early 1980s, the fund made loans to other provincial governments in Canada. Later the fund's money was used for capital infrastructure projects.
To date, over $33 billion has been made available to fund Albertans' priorities, such as health care, education, infrastructure and social programs. The Fund is managed with the goal of maximizing long-term real returns at a prudent level of risk. Under the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act, all income, less the amount required for inflation proofing, is used as revenue by the government. The Heritage Fund is a member of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds and is therefore signed up to the Santiago Principles on best practice in managing sovereign wealth funds. AIMCo works closely with Alberta Treasury Board and Finance to set long-term objectives for the Heritage Fund and implements these objectives through investments in a globally diversified mix of bonds, public and private equities, hedge funds, real estate and other real asset investments, such as infrastructure and timberland.
Pensions plans whose assets are managed by AIMCo include the Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP), Public Service Pension Plan, Special Forces Pension Plan, Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA), Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP), Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP), Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers Pension Plan (Registered) and Supplementary Retirement Plan for Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers (Unregistered), and the Supplementary Retirement Plan for Public Service Managers. The sole shareholder of these plans is the Alberta Minister of Finance. Following the addition of the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund (ATRF) assets under AIMCo's management through the November 2019 UCP budget Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act—if passed—AIMCo would become the "investment manager of all public sector pensions".
- Local Authorities Pension Plan (LAPP) On March 1, 2019, LAPP's primary oversight role was transferred from Alberta's Minister of Finance to the newly established LAPP Corporation, which under Canadian law, made the LAPP corporation the fiduciary to LAPP members requiring the Corporation to "act solely in the best interests of the members. LAPP formally became a "jointly-sponsored pension plan registered under the Employment Pension Plans Act (EPPA) of Alberta." However, through the November 2019 UCP budget Bill 22, 
- Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) – established in 1947, this plan is for employees of the Alberta government and other public service organizations.
- Special Forces Pension Plan (SFPP) – established in 1979 for police officers, police chiefs, and deputy chiefs employed by local authorities in Alberta.
- Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP) – the foundations of this plan were established in 1972. Then known as the Public Service Management Pension Plan for management employees of the Alberta government and other public sector organizations. In 1994 the Plan changed and was renamed MEPP.
- Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers Pension Plan (Registered) and Supplementary Retirement Plan for Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers (Unregistered); collectively known as the "Judges Pension Plan" – the registered part of the Plan provides benefits up to the maximum allowed for registered pension plans under federal tax rules. The unregistered part of the Plan provides benefits in excess of those limits. Established in 2001 with provisions retroactive to April 1, 1998, the Judges Pension Plan replaced the Provincial Judges and Masters in Chambers Pension Plan established September 1, 1988. Prior to that, judges and masters in chambers contributed to the Public Service Management Pension Plan.
- Supplementary Retirement Plan for Public Service Managers – established on July 1, 1999, this plan provides additional pension benefits to public service managers of designated employers who participate in the Management Employees Pension Plan (MEPP) and whose annual salary exceeds the yearly maximum pensionable earnings limit under Canada's Income Tax Act.
The Government funds managed by AIMCo are used for Albertan services such as health care, education, infrastructure and social programs. As a result, AIMCo invests in private equity, public equity, fixed income and private debt.
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