Alberta steps up international programme

The Canadian pension fund manager known as AIMCo, which looks after the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, wants to increase returns partly by investing outside its home territory, including the US and Europe.

Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) expects to make several real estate deals this year, many of them in the US and Europe, in order to boost returns. 

A report from Bloomberg cited an interview with AIMCo's chief executive, Leo de Bever, where he said that the Edmonton, Alberta-based pension fund manager was looking to execute “half a dozen transactions” ranging anywhere from C$100 million (€72 million, $104 million) to as high as C$500 million.

“We're pretty agnostic about what we're looking at, as long as it's a good opportunity,” he told PERE in a subsequent interview.

The fund is seeking to increase returns while it reorganizes into more of a ‘commercially-based’ investment fund like Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. AIMCo was established in January 2008 to manage investments for Alberta's provincial government, public pension plans and endowments, including the C$15.5 billion Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. It had an 8.2 percent return on investments in the year ended 31 March, generating C$5.4 billion in investment income, according to annual results released yesterday. AIMCo's assets at the end of March fell 2.7 percent from C$70.7 billion in the year-earlier period.

These transactions may be in properties outside of Canada, as AIMCo revealed in its annual report that foreign properties may rise to one-third of total real estate holdings over time. Currently, the fund's C$5.6 billion in real estate is mostly in Canada, with 3.5 percent in the UK, US and Europe.

“We're looking a little further afield for opportunities elsewhere,” de Bever added. “We've found some good partners in Germany and the UK. We will spend more money over time outside of Canada.”