AIMCo 'tilting' overweight investments away from Alberta real-estate and energy sectors


CALGARY – Alberta’s public pension manager admits it is overexposed to both the oil and gas industry and Canada’s largest oil-producing province, but its chief investment officer said those weightings are coming down as strategies shift.

“We go where we see the best risk-adjusted returns and the exposure we have in Alberta is driven by our own views,” Dale MacMaster, chief investment officer of Alberta Investment Management Corp., said in an interview following the release of the public pension investment manager’s 2020 annual report on June 28.

“Let’s face it, for many, many years Alberta was Canada’s leading engine of growth. Alberta far outpaced the rest of the country and it had very strong attributes.”

MacMaster said that outperformance has led AIMCo, which manages $118.6 billion in assets, to being slightly overweight in Alberta, particularly in real estate and the energy sector, where it is invested in public equities and through its fixed-income portfolios.

AIMCo in the past year has participated in refinancing efforts at Calfrac Well Services Ltd. and Western Energy Services Corp. as those companies opted to delay bond payments and restructure in the face of sharp sector downturns.

But on the same day that AIMCo released its annual report, Calgary-based junior Razor Energy Corp. announced it was deferring a regularly scheduled interest payment on a $50-million term loan to AIMCo.

“The company is grateful to be partners with AIMCo and the continued support as both a major shareholder and senior lender,” Razor said in a press release.

Nevertheless, MacMaster said oil and gas equities have rebounded along with Alberta’s economy, and that AIMCo has been tilting away from investments in the province, particularly its real-estate market, for several years.