IMCO posts 2021 net return of 9.6%, outperforms benchmark
- Generated 110 basis points of net value add for clients
- Absolute returns and net value add were positive for all IMCO clients
- Grew assets under management to $79 billion (at Dec. 31, 2021)
- Committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in portfolio by 2050 or sooner
TORONTO (April 25, 2022) – The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) today announced that the weighted average net return of its clients’ portfolios was 9.6% for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to a consolidated benchmark return of 8.5%. Client returns ranged from 0.1% to 11.2%, reflecting broad differences in their respective asset allocation strategies, risk tolerances and investment objectives.
IMCO generated 110 basis points of net value add for clients in 2021, and 50 basis points annualized since first launching its new investment strategies two years ago. IMCO’s assets under management rose to $79 billion at the end of 2021, up from $73.3 billion a year earlier.
“We are proud of the results we achieved for our clients this year,” said Bert Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer. “IMCO’s outperformance reflects our fundamental approach to investing. We look to buy high quality assets at fair prices and focus on long-term value creation.”
“We continue to work with our clients to build better performing asset mixes over the long-term,” Clark added. “This includes creating more access to private assets and introducing modest use of systematic leverage. Additionally, we have established new approaches to investing in each asset class with a more focused number of partners and an increased proportion of funds that are invested directly. I am pleased to see that these changes are already yielding improved absolute and relative (to benchmark) returns.”
In addition to ongoing strategy refinement throughout 2021, IMCO increased its investing activities significantly, carrying out 35 direct and co-investment transactions throughout the year while achieving numerous milestones. For example, IMCO completed its first 100% acquisition (Pulse Clean Energy), its first participation in an IPO (Definity Financial), and its first take-private deal (AusNet Services).
“We have the internal expertise and world-class partners in place to deliver the sustained and long-term returns our clients require,” said Rossitsa Stoyanova, IMCO’s Chief Investment Officer. “Our results speak to our focused approach, which includes a fundamental approach to investing at the individual security level, coupled with strong portfolio construction advice and management.”
Highlights of results and achievements
Portfolio performance by asset class
(as of Dec. 31, 2021)
Key transactions in 2021 include an investment in a major life sciences development at Harvard University alongside Tishman Speyer; the acquisition of Pulse Clean Energy, a UK-based sustainable power company which will serve as a platform for a utility-scale battery business, and a number of significant capital allocations to best-in-class global private credit and private equity managers. Highlights across select asset classes include:
- IMCO’s private equity team closed $2.3 billion in transactions:
- Added four strategic partners Ardian, GI Partners, KKR, and Peloton Capital Management: making four new fund commitments totaling $1.5 billion
- Completed seven direct equity and co-investment deals with new and existing partners totaling $800 million, including a direct investment in Kohlberg & Company’s acquisition of Ob Hospitalist Group, the largest obstetric hospitalist services provider in the United States; and co-investing alongside GI Partners’ acquisition of Valet Living, amenity services provider to multi-family properties in the United States.
- IMCO acquired 100% of Pulse Clean Energy (formerly Green Frog Power Limited), our first control acquisition of a private company. Pulse Clean Energy is a leading developer, owner, and operator of flexible generation and storage projects.
- IMCO made its largest infrastructure investment by participating in the take-private transaction of AusNet Services alongside Brookfield Asset Management. As an owner and operator of electricity and gas utility network assets in Australia, AusNet can enable renewable penetration by connecting renewable sites to load centres through the construction of new transmission lines.
- IMCO acted as an initial investor in Brookfield Asset Management’s US$7 billion Brookfield Global Transition Fund, the largest fund aimed at scaling clean energy and investing capital to spur carbon-intensive businesses to align their operations with the transition to a net zero emissions economy.
- IMCO invested directly alongside our strategic partner Tishman Speyer in the US$1 billion development of a mixed-used research campus at Harvard University, following our US$325-million commitment to the Breakthrough Life Science Property Fund. The 14-acre site includes 900,000 square feet of life sciences labs, hotel, conference, and residential uses.
- IMCO committed $225 million to 12 industrial development projects totaling over 9.4 million square feet throughout the United States, via its joint venture with WPT REIT.
- IMCO increased its commitment to a joint venture co-sponsored by Lincoln Property Company’s residential division and Cadillac Fairview, focused on developing and acquiring high-quality multi-family assets in top U.S. markets.
- IMCO closed a US$500 million commitment with a new strategic partner, Ares Management Corporation, giving IMCO and our clients timely access to an actively managed, diversified multi-strategy credit portfolio that spans a wide spectrum of credit products and markets.
- IMCO added a direct lending component to its global credit strategy by investing US$500 million with Antares Capital LP, a private debt credit manager and leading provider of financing to mid-market private equity-backed companies in North America.
- IMCO made its first investment through an initial public offering in the $1.6 billion Definity Financial offering—Canada’s biggest IPO since 2015.
- IMCO launched two new equity pools: the Global Public Equity Pool and the Emerging Markets Public Equity Pool. Combined with the Canadian Public Equity Pool, the three pools represent approximately $25.2 billion in AUM, offering new clients access to a range of public equity strategies.
Public Market Alternatives
- IMCO launched the Public Market Alternatives Pool in 2021, combining assets and providing portfolio construction benefits and portfolio management efficiencies, as well as better liquidity management.
- IMCO also implemented a natural resources strategy for diversification and introduced credit long/short strategies in 2021 to take advantage of relative value opportunities in the credit markets.
Our commitment to ESG and Net Zero by 2050
IMCO also made considerable progress on embedding ESG in its investing approach in 2021, reflecting the organization’s commitment to building a sustainable, low-carbon future and a stronger and more resilient global economy. IMCO also joined the Paris Aligned Investment Initiative on Climate Action, pledging to achieve net zero portfolio green house gas emissions by 2050.
IMCO delivered $20 million in investment management cost savings on behalf of clients, in addition to significant cost savings delivered in prior years. “Our goal is to offer our clients a more cost effective and better solution than any alternative available to them,” Clark said. “We’re proud of our ability to eliminate expenses, even as we continue to invest in growing and maturing our internal capabilities in areas such as client service, risk management and portfolio construction.”
The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) manages $79 billion of assets on behalf of its clients. IMCO’s mandate is to provide broader public sector institutions with investment management services, including portfolio construction advice, better access to a diverse range of asset classes and sophisticated risk management capabilities. IMCO is an independent organization, operating at arm’s length from government and guided by a highly experienced and professional Board of Directors. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @imcoinvest.
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