AIMCo, the crown corporation which manages billions of dollars worth of Alberta pensions, is in the spotlight after losing more than $4 billion dollars on a bad investment bet.

According to a new report by Progress Alberta, the pension fund manager has – for years – been making questionable investments in small and medium-sized oil and gas companies.  Not only are these companies prone to volatility, they have massive liabilities. Many of them, the report notes, will likely go bankrupt.

AIMCo invested nearly $60 million in an energy company named Trident Exploration. When Trident went bankrupt, that $60 million in pension money disappeared with it.

Approximately $1.1 billion has been thrown into these suspect oil and gas investments. These same corporations which AIMCo has invested in have more than $3.1 billion in environmental liabilities, such as oil well cleanups.

In the wake of the news about $4 billion in pensions being lost on an “investment bet,” the public pension manager has remained secretive. They refuse to discuss details of their investing strategies, despite widespread concerns from pensioners.

Critics have noted the worrying entanglements between Alberta politicians, corporate donors, and AIMCo. They are concerned that without proper oversight, Jason Kenney’s pro-oil government could influence investment decisions that will wager Albertan’s pension money on a frail oil and gas sector.

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