businessman hand working computer and business strategy concept

The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) outperformed its benchmark last year, the public-sector investment manager said in a release on Monday.

The weighted-average net return of its clients’ portfolios was 9.6% in 2021, compared to a consolidated benchmark return of 8.5%.

Clients’ returns ranged from 0.1% to 11.2%, which reflected “broad differences in their respective asset allocation strategies, risk tolerances and investment objectives,” the release said.

Assets under management rose to $79 billion at the end of 2021, up from $73.3 billion a year earlier.

“IMCO’s outperformance reflects our fundamental approach to investing,” said Bert Clark, president and CEO, in the release. “We look to buy high-quality assets at fair prices and focus on long-term value creation.”

The asset manager works with clients to build better-performing asset mixes over the long term, he noted.

“This includes creating more access to private assets and introducing modest use of systematic leverage,” Clark said. “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.”

IMCO also increased its investing activities “significantly” in 2021, the release said, carrying out 35 direct and co-investment transactions.

Milestones during the year included the manager’s first 100% acquisition (U.K.-based Pulse Clean Energy), its first participation in an IPO (Waterloo, Ont.–based Definity Financial), and its first take-private deal (Australian utility AusNet Services).