It’s been a big year for the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI). The Victoria-based investment corporation is the investment manager for many of B.C.’s public sector pension plans, as well as insurance funds that provide more than three million Autoplan insurance policies annually, and benefits coverage to more than two million workers and 225,000 companies, and also public trusts and endowments.
BCI achieved a 7.4 per cent annual investment return on behalf of British Columbia’s public sector pension plans for the one-year period ending March 31, 2022. BCI’s active, in-house, global investment strategies added $11.5 billion in net assets under management (AUM), increasing BCI’s total AUM to $211.1 billion, making it one of the largest institutional investors in Canada.
The annual return exceeded the combined market benchmark result of 4.6 per cent, and the 2.8 per cent outperformance generated by BCI’s investment activities equates to $4.4 billion created for BCI’s pension plan clients, helping to strengthen the financial position of the plans whose members total nearly three quarters of a million people in B.C.
Looking longer term, over a 10-year period BCI generated an annualized 10-year return of 9.1 per cent, compared to a combined market benchmark result of 8.0 per cent for their pension plan clients. Surpassing the benchmark by 1.1 per cent over that time period equates to $13.2 billion in value generated notes Ramy Rayes, BCI’s Executive Vice President of Investment Strategy & Risk. “If you look at our results another way, BCI’s strong rate of return over the course of the last decade means that, for every $100 a pension plan member received in retirement benefits, $75 on average has been created and provided by BCI’s ongoing strategic investment activity.”
Its investment success has earned BCI the Canadian Investment Review 2021 Pension Leadership Award for Sustainable Investing, the 2021 Responsible Investment Association Leadership Award for Integration, and achieved a top spot in the Responsible Asset Allocator Initiative’s 2021 Leaders List of the 30 Most Responsible Asset Allocators. BCI also achieved a 10th-place ranking in Infrastructure Investor’s 2021 Global Investor 50 – a list of the largest institutional investors in global infrastructure.
The results of successful planning
BCI’s well-diversified portfolios and sophisticated investment strategies work to safeguard clients’ capital through unpredictable market turbulence – impacts which currently range from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Those same strategies will continue to serve clients well in the current environment of global inflation.
“Planning ahead is imperative,” Rayes says. While you never know what specific events may influence global markets, “you must have a process in place to be nimble when they come. Having both the people and the plan means being able to deliver that long term success for our clients.”
Working to further expand its ability to capture global investment opportunities, BCI has recently opened a New York City office for its private equity program, and a London, U.K. office, designed to support infrastructure and renewable resource investments, will open by the end of the year.
Focusing on Talent
A key factor in BCI’s growth is its recognition that people are essential for corporate success.
It’s why, in addition to investment accolades, they’re just as proud to be named one of BC’s Top Employers, one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and one of Canada’s Family-Friendly Employers for the third consecutive year, Rayes emphasizes.
As the corporation has grown to more than 600 employees from about 200 in 2016, BCI recognizes that attracting talented people isn’t always easy. So, beyond rewarding careers, it has focused on creating a welcoming, diverse culture that also recognizes the corporation’s place in the community.
Alongside corporate support for initiatives like United Way Southern Vancouver Island, Junior Achievement of B.C. literacy programs which have been provided to 2,600 students across B.C., BCI recently doubled its staff volunteer time – now, employees receive two paid days off annually to volunteer in the community with an organization of their choice, Rayes notes.
And, recognizing the need to continue its investment in the future, BCI has nurtured a robust student co-op and internship program that provides students from post-secondary educational facilities across Canada meaningful work experiences – a critical investment in its next generation of investment and business professionals.