Alberta Teachers’ Association set to legally challenge pension order

The Alberta Investment Management Corp. has reached an investment management agreement with the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board following a protracted period of negotiation.

The agreement will see the Alberta Teachers’ assets, valued at $19.1 billion in its 2020 annual report, transferred to the custody of the AIMCO. According to Rod Matheson, the Alberta Teachers’ chief executive officer, the AIMCO’s management of the assets will be guided by a framework laid out by his organization.

The agreement brings to a close a turbulent period for both organizations. The troubles began in 2019, when Alberta’s provincial government passed a bill mandating the transfer of assets from several public sector pension plans, including the Alberta Teachers’, to the AIMCo.

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Throughout 2020, efforts to negotiate an investment management agreement between the organizations stalled. In response, the provincial government offered the AIMCo special permission to absorb the Alberta Teachers’ assets without an agreement.

In January, the Alberta Teachers’ Association launched a legal challenge against the provincial government’s move. In a press release, the association said that the order reduced teachers’ control of pension investments. Jason Schilling, president of the ATA, went on to describe it as an “offensive and over-reaching” move.

While this move didn’t block the then-ongoing transfer of assets from the teachers’ pension plan to the AIMCo, both organizations agreed to pause the transfer of some funds until after an agreement was signed. With this now completed, the transfer is expected to be finalized by the end of 2021.

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