Chair & CEO Messages

Message from The Chair

Albertans count on AIMCo. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously."
Mark D. Wiseman
Chair, Board of Directors

Over the course of 2022, I’ve witnessed the continuing evolution of AIMCo. From maturing risk management practices to industry-leading governance and a workplace offering employees an unprecedented level of autonomy — the pace of change has been remarkable. Yet, there is a deep understanding of why improvement must be continuous — Albertans count on AIMCo. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously.

In my message last year, I commended the organization for delivering record investment performance. With markets as they were, the 2022 return was weaker but, notably, above the benchmark used to gauge the Investment team’s performance.

Over the span of my career in investing, I’ve been humbled many times by volatile markets and economic factors. It is why those who know me understand my preoccupation with long termism. That approach is driving AIMCo’s focus on strategy and adaptations that will better serve the needs of clients. It is imperative that the focus remains squarely there — clients’ needs over the long term.

The Board of Directors was strengthened in 2022 with the additions of Theresa Whitmarsh and Bob Dhillon. They made an immediate impact with their expertise and willingness to contribute their insights. The Board and I thank them for their contributions.

Additional gratitude is in order for a pair of departed board members — Jacqueline Sheppard and Bob Kelly. Serving four and a half and two years respectively, both provided invaluable guidance and expertise as AIMCo evolved. On behalf of the Board and management, I offer my deepest thanks for their dedication.

This leads me to my own farewell. My tenure as Chair will conclude at the end of 2023 and I will leave with a sense of satisfaction, confident the organization is on a trajectory to delivering sustained long-term performance and results for Albertans.

I have many to thank for making my time at AIMCo so rewarding. My colleagues on the Board have been supportive and united in the execution of our duties. I could not have asked for a more ambitious, cooperative, transparent and collaborative executive team, led by CEO Evan Siddall. AIMCo employees remained open to change and committed to excellence.

As I move on, I will most fondly remember the concerted effort put forth by so many to strengthen the connection with our clients — and to deliver on the deeper purpose of helping them build a better financial future for the Albertans they serve.

Mark D. Wiseman
Chair, Board of Directors

Message from The CEO

I am confident that the rewards of our focused efforts now will be of great benefit to Albertans well into the future.”
Evan Siddall

It has been a year of client-centred strategy and growth. Our team members dedicated their attention to delivering on our corporate strategy with its three focus areas — consistent, reliable service, an adaptable investment platform, and talent and culture. I am confident that the rewards of our focused efforts now will be of great benefit to Albertans well into the future.

I am incredibly proud of the executive leadership team we have assembled, adding half a dozen key individuals in 2022 to round it out. To the following leaders, thank you for answering the call and dedicating yourselves to our purpose:

Suzanne Akers, Chief Risk Officer
Denise Man, Chief Technology Officer
Paul Mouchakkaa, Executive Managing Director, Head of Real Estate
Krista Pell, Chief Human Resources Officer
Dr. Marlene Puffer, Chief Investment Officer
David Scudellari, Senior Executive Managing Director, Head of International Investment

With the leadership groundwork laid, several new initiatives are underway. A new Investment Strategy necessitates updates to our technology. Our ambition must also be supported by an up-to-date people and talent strategy.

The opening of our Calgary office in the fall was a highlight for us and signalled the beginning of plans for geographical expansion. One aspect of our Investment Strategy is the development of partnerships, and it is imperative that we have people in selected markets where we plan to focus efforts. Accordingly, we’ll be opening an office in Singapore this year to address pan-Asian opportunities, with New York to follow.

One of the biggest fears of a CEO is that a rapid pace of change, if not handled properly, can overwhelm employees, eroding trust and job satisfaction. The impressive results of our regular employee engagement surveys continue to allay that concern with the metrics holding steady above our stretch target.

My hypothesis when I joined AIMCo in 2021 was that employees were keen for change and that the organization was saturated with motivated and dedicated people. The entire team deserves credit for their accomplishments over the course of 2022 and thanks in advance for the strategic efforts that continue.

Last year, in this message, I reflected on the erosion of trust between AIMCo and its clients. I am humbled to report a significant degree of improvement in the relationships. In our annual survey, our clients delivered a 48-point increase in net-promoter score — our primary metric by which we measure client satisfaction. I characterize this as a quantum shift, and I am grateful to our clients for acknowledging our efforts with a number of initiatives including the restructuring of our Public Equities platform and robust consultations on product descriptions, strategy, compensation and budget.

I assure you, we are not done yet.  

With all of these positive developments, it is unfortunate that the conditions for investors were among the most challenging we’ve seen in years. Just one year after delivering record investment performance, our team navigated the market consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, deglobalization, high inflation, a global re-assessment of risk premia and a resulting rise in interest rates. Our -3.4% investment return on the portfolio was above the benchmark return, although a negative result below what we were aiming for.

As always, I urge everyone to evaluate our investment performance over the longer term since that is our investment horizon. AIMCo’s10-year investment performance sits at 7.2%, 0.7% above the benchmark and equating to $67 billion in investment returns for our clients. If AIMCo’s investment performance is of interest to you, I encourage you to give a detailed read of that section of this report. We offer a significant degree of transparency, both in the numbers we release, but also the commentary from our asset class teams. Their analysis of how their portfolios performed, how they are positioned and what they are watching for on the horizon is insightful and important context.

Finally, I will take my place at the front of the line of those at AIMCo expressing gratitude to our outgoing Board Chair, Mark Wiseman. He has been a source of wisdom and invaluable counsel from the moment the Board selected me as CEO. His feedback and support as we fine-tuned our corporate and investment strategies has made us markedly better. He has been generous to me with his introductions, his guidance and his feedback. It has been a career highlight of mine to work so closely with him and I thank him deeply for his leadership and his commitment to our clients and our province.

Evan Siddall