<!-- Swiftype Variables -->

Money Management

New Ontario manager ready to add staff for business push

Pedestrians in the Bay Street financial district in Toronto

Investment Management Corp. of Ontario expects to boost assets to C$100 billion ($78 billion) and triple its staff within five years as it scoops up more clients.

IMCO will be hiring more people and launching investment products starting next year to attract business from smaller public-sector organizations that can't manage their pension plans effectively, said CEO Bert Clark.

"Size matters when it comes to managing assets," Mr. Clark said in an interview last week. "If you look at Ontario, there are dozens and dozens of small funds trying to do what is often not their core competency."

IMCO was created in July 2016 to manage assets for small provincial pension plans and universities. It also manages assets of the C$29.4 billion Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Ontario Pension Board, which oversees the C$24.4 billion Ontario Public Service Pension Plan, Toronto. It will provide investment advice and portfolio construction for organizations that join on a voluntary basis. Universities, municipalities, government-owned corporations, agencies, boards or commissions could all join IMCO, he said.

IMCO was created by the Ontario government following a study to examine the benefits of pooled asset management for public-sector pension plans, a model that has already been implemented in Alberta and British Columbia.

The asset manager intends to roll out its investment vehicles within 18 months, boosting staff to as many as 200 to 300 people from 70 now, Mr. Clark said. With the creation of its own investment products, the fund will move clients toward a pooled structure where they can invest capital in shares or units of different funds to meet their targeted return, Mr. Clark said.

Clients are particularly interested in gaining access to real estate, private equity, and infrastructure investment strategies, he said. IMCO, which hasn't adjusted its asset allocation from what was inherited from the two clients, is 40%% invested in public equity, 22% in fixed income and cash, and 17% in real estate. Remaining funds are allocated to non-traditional strategies such as infrastructure and private equity, according to IMCO's data.