The Alberta government has named the former head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board as chairman of the province’s public investment manager as it deals with the fallout from a multibillion-dollar loss from financial derivatives.
Mark Wiseman will start as chairman of Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) on July 1, replacing Richard Bird, whose term at the post is due to end. Mr. Bird, formerly of Enbridge Inc., has been a director for six years, the past three as chairman.
Mr. Wiseman was chief executive of CPPIB from 2012 to 2016. Most recently, he was a top investment executive at BlackRock Inc., where he was global head of active equities and chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors. Earlier in his career, he headed up the private equity and co-investment program at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
His appointment comes at a fraught time for AIMCo. The Crown corporation, which manages $119-billion in assets for clients that include public-sector pension plans, made headlines in April after it suffered a $2.1-billion loss on a wrong-way bet on volatility when global markets gyrated wildly in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis.
The AIMCo board launched a formal investigation and hired accounting firm KPMG LLP to help uncover what went wrong with its risk-management policies, and determine how to avoid such a loss in the future. The results are expected soon.
Early this month, figures released by AIMCo pension clients showed that the Crown corporation also underperformed Canadian peers in stock, bond, real estate and private-equity investments.
This week, Premier Jason Kenney’s “Fair Deal” panel recommended that the province withdraw from CPP and create an Alberta pension plan, possibly managed by AIMCo. This idea has been met with mixed response given AIMCo’s recent debacle. Mr. Kenney said the finance ministry will study the pros and cons of such a move and if it sees fit, the proposal will be put to a referendum in late 2021.
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