The Investment Management Corp. of Ontario saw returns of 9.6 per cent in 2021, according to its annual report.

The IMCO’s assets under management rose $5.7 billion during the year, reaching $79 billion. The year’s returns weren’t evenly distributed, as client pension plan gains ranged from 0.1 per cent to 11.2 per cent depending on each plan’s asset allocations.

Returns were led by the private equity portfolio, which grew by 19.2 per cent to $4.6 billion. Several other portfolios also saw double-digit returns, including public equity (16.3 per cent), global real estate (13 per cent) and global infrastructure (12.3 per cent). Only the fixed income portfolio, which shrank by 1.7 per cent, reported losses for the year.

Read: IMCO expecting to reach $6BN in private equity exposure by 2026

The results were celebrated by the IMCO investments team, as they exceeded the 8.5 per cent benchmark set for the year. In a press release, Bert Clark, the organization’s president and chief executive officer, credited the success to its overall approach. “[The 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.”

Clark also hinted that the IMCO would be reducing its reliance on outside asset managers. He also reiterated that it would invest more in alternative assets in order to build asset mixes better suited to the needs of long-term investors.

“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.”

Read: BCI, CPPIB, IMCO and PSP committing to ESG standardization in private equity