Investment manager

Alberta investment manager AIMCo to administer $ 19.3 billion teachers’ pension plan

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney takes off his mask during a press conference in Calgary on September 3.

Todd Korol / The Canadian Press

Alberta teachers have been granted the right to retain final say over investments made for their $ 19.3 billion pension plan in a deal that anticipates a move by Premier Jason Kenney’s government to cede control to the provincial fund manager.

Alberta Investment Management Corp., known as AIMCo, ended months of lawsuits, court hearings and often bitter negotiations with the Alberta Teachers’ Association, or ATA, with a deal ensuring the fund Long-standing Teachers’ Retirement Office monitors how AIMCo invests the retirement savings of 46,000 teachers.

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The deal was a cause for celebration for both the teachers’ association and AIMCo, which manages more than $ 123 billion for 32 provincial pension plans and endowments, including the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund. Many long-time AIMCo clients have little or no say in how their funds are invested. The deal is also expected to defuse a major source of tension between Mr. Kenney and the province’s well-organized teachers.

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The CEO of AIMCo hailed the deal as a new model for managing customer money. “Today’s agreement marks a starting point for AIMCo as a multi-tenant investment manager,” said Evan Siddall, who became CEO in July. “Our top priority is helping our clients ensure the long-term prosperity of the people of Alberta they represent.

In 2019, Mr. Kenney’s United Conservative Party government passed legislation to bring previously self-employed teachers’ pensions under the umbrella of AIMCo. The ATA strongly opposed the move, arguing that its current manager, the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund, has provided above-average returns to its retirees for decades and gives members a say in what is happening. investment strategies.

After AIMCo suffered significant investment losses in 2020, linked to its failed bet on market volatility during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, opposition to the switch intensified as the teachers’ union questioned the fund manager’s ability to manage the pension funds of its members. responsible.

AIMCo senior executives have been replaced after an investigation into the investment losses, former CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mark Wiseman, appointed AIMCo president, and Mr. Siddall, former head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, appointed CEO after Kevin Uebelein’s departure.

“With the new CEO, AIMCo seemed to realize that they need to be more responsive to their client and that they will be held accountable for their duty, and teachers will hold them accountable for the work they do with investment management. . Said Jason Schilling, President of the ATA.

Former Director of the Teachers ‘Retirement Plan, Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board Chair, Sandra Johnston, said the new agreement with AIMCo “respects ATRF’s role and upholds its responsibilities. plan trustees. It has the right accountability mechanisms in our new legal framework and includes protections and remedies. “

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