Alberta Investment Management Corp. has struck an agreement with Ottawa’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board to jointly fund private loans to companies, after AIMCo hired away one of PSP’s top executives.
Alberta’s government-owned asset manager has hired David Scudellari to a new role as head of international investment. He joins AIMCo immediately as a senior executive managing director, reporting to chief executive officer Evan Siddall, from PSP – the federal public-sector pension manager.
Under AIMCo and PSP’s new loan sourcing agreement, PSP will originate private credit investments that will be funded by both pension managers, with money earmarked by each. The arrangement gives PSP additional funding to take advantage of the large pipeline of deals it sources, while AIMCo gets a chance to expand its credit business more rapidly than it otherwise could.
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Though large Canadian pension managers often work side by side on individual deals, AIMCo and PSP’s agreement is an example of unusually close partnership. Neither pension manager disclosed how much money each has earmarked for loans generated under the agreement. But PSP’s platform for direct private loans to companies has grown rapidly since it launched in 2015, and now manages $21.9-billion.
“I think this is a new type of collaboration,” Deborah Orida, chief executive officer of PSP, said in an interview. “We already have a sophisticated credit platform that is sourcing a lot of opportunities. … When there are some that might be bigger than we would want for our portfolio construction reasons, then we have a partner that we could bring in alongside us to co-invest.”
At AIMCo, part of Mr. Scudellari’s new job will be to improve its partnerships with external managers, in line with a strategy to gain access to a greater range of opportunities for its clients. But his main responsibilities will be leading AIMCo’s international expansion, which includes plans to open new offices in New York – which he will lead and use as his home base – and in Singapore. He will also have oversight of AIMCo’s credit and private debt divisions, and will help Mr. Siddall with leadership development within AIMCo’s ranks.
AIMCo invests for 32 pension, endowment and government funds in Alberta at arm’s length from government, with more than $160-billion in assets under management.
Mr. Scudellari was previously PSP’s global head of credit and private equity, based in New York. To succeed him, PSP is promoting two executives: Oliver Duff will become global head of credit investments, and Simon Marc will be global head of private equity and strategic partnerships.
PSP manages pensions for the federal public service, Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, with $230-billion of assets under management.
Before Mr. Scudellari joined PSP, he had senior roles at Barclays Bank PLC and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., where he worked with Mr. Siddall, and spent time in Calgary as chief financial officer of North West Upgrading Inc.
“He’s attracted to the energy around [AIMCo],” Mr. Siddall said. “We’ve recruited a bunch of different people over the last year into senior roles, and he likes what he sees.”
Most recently, AIMCo hired Marlene Puffer as its chief investment officer last month, poaching her from the top job at Canadian National Railway Co.’s pension plan. AIMCo has substantially reshuffled its senior staff, including adding Mr. Siddall as CEO in 2021, after previous leadership lost $2.1-billion on a market volatility trading strategy early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from a possible further hire to lead the new Singapore office, AIMCo’s leadership team is now set, according to Mr. Siddall. “We’re basically done,” he said.
The expansion in the United States and Singapore that Mr. Scudellari will lead is a priority because AIMCo has been “the most underrepresented internationally, the most overrepresented domestically in our portfolios,” Mr. Siddall said.
Currently, AIMCo is headquartered in Edmonton, which Mr. Siddall said will remain its home base, with offices in Toronto, Calgary, London and Luxembourg.
Opening the New York and Singapore offices is “also a way of attracting a broader talent pool, frankly,” he said.