Alberta teachers calling on auditor general to investigate proposed public pension changes

The Alberta Teachers’ Association and the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund are calling on the province’s auditor general to examine the 2019 budget proposal that would put the pension’s investments under the control of the Alberta Investment Management Corp.

In a letter to the auditor general, the ATRF said it would prefer to remain in control of its own investments. “Without the discretion to have full control of all aspects of managing the investment portfolio, the board is concerned that this will fundamentally impact ATRF’s ability to continue to provide effective pension management and, most importantly, meet the pension promise,” the letter said.

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Meanwhile, the ATA is calling the budget proposal a “pension grab” and is concerned that the Alberta government hasn’t consulted with teachers on the matter. “Teachers are not convinced this move is in their interests,” said Jason Schilling, president of the ATA, in a press release. “The ATRF board is also not convinced that this is in the best interest of plan members. We need to pause this legislation; otherwise, this move amounts to a hijacking

“Show us the numbers and convince us it is in our interests, instead of unilaterally seizing our pension assets. If AIMCo actually provides better returns at lower costs, then why wouldn’t we want to use them to invest our money? But right now, there is conflicting data and a significant lack of trust.”

In its letter to the auditor general, the ATRF noted the government hasn’t asked it to provide any data on the current pension arrangements. It stressed that as a fiduciary, the ATRF’s board has to be satisfied that the AIMCo taking over the pension would be in the best interests of plan members.

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