Fund Manager Series: British Columbia Investment Management Corp (BCI)

Barkha Rani Jul 13, 2021
Headline image for Fund Manager Series: British Columbia Investment Management Corp (BCI)

 The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC or BCI), founded in July 1999, is a privately owned institutional investor and an investment manager based in Victoria, Canada. The firm provides fund management services for public sector pension plans, the Province of British Columbia, and publicly administered trust funds based in the province.  

With over $171.3 billion of managed assets as of March 31, 2020, BCI is the leading investment management services provider to British Columbia’s public sector. BCI generates investment returns that help its >30 institutional clients. The investment manager offers investment options across a range of asset classes: fixed income; public and private equity; infrastructure and renewable resources; real estate and mortgages. Since its inception 20 years ago, BCI has generated (till FY2020) an annualized return of 6.5 percent, exceeding the required actuarial rates of return for major pension plan clients – currently ranging from 5.65 to 6.75 percent.

BCI’s public markets program manages a global portfolio of fixed income and equity investments representing $112.8 billion or nearly 66% of BCI’s assets under management. The program invests in Canada, the US, and internationally in developed and emerging markets utilizing both index (passive) and active management strategies. Currently, more than 80 percent of the program’s assets are managed internally using a mix of financial instruments, up sharply from 57 percent in 2015.

Public Investments (Top 30) 

Source: Refinitiv Eikon. As of July 13, 2021 

Sector Breakdown


Source: Refinitiv Eikon. As of July 13, 2021

Given how funds and withdrawals work, portfolio liquidity is an important aspect of portfolio management to ensure no forced sales of assets to raise cash in event of heightened investor fear or a market crash. Fortunately, BCI had taken steps nearly three years ago to prepare for an eventual market correction, establishing bank lines, negotiating hedging contracts, and increasing liquidity monitoring and reporting. Consequently, BCI faced no liquidity squeeze during the early panic sell-off of the pandemic and maintained ample liquidity. The investment manager’s public market portfolios are defensively positioned with a bias toward non-cyclical, large-cap companies and strategic underweight to the energy sector to mitigate the pandemic downturn. For 2020, BCI also avoided any material exposure to some of the worst-hit economic sectors such as retail, hotels, and retirement homes. Starting in 2021, the strategy began to change, shifting to otherwise underweight sectors such as Energy.

Recent Activity


Source: Refinitiv Eikon. As of July 13, 2021

The key takeaway from the long history of BCI’s is liquidity with the support of non-withdrawal (for exceptions) clauses. Given that BCI, unlike many other funds, was not forced to liquidate positions allowed the fund to carry out the long-term vision. Sector allocation changes and asset allocation shifts (from being overweight on fixed income to average weight) helped the fund navigate the tough year. With a defensive strategy, BCI also offers a good catalogue of investment ideas for investors looking for low-volatility and fundamentally driven ideas.

Happy Investing!

Barkha's Signature


Disclosure: Authors, directors, partners and/or officers of 5i Research or related companies have a financial or other interest in MSFT, AAPL, MA, AMZN, TT, and FB at the time of publishing

1 comment


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Jul 17, 2021
Under recent activity I see China at top of the adds. What is B.C. doing investing there when they've kidnapped our citizens?

BTW the font is so small I can't read properly.