The Alberta government proposed in its recent budget that management of the C$18 billion ($13.8 billion) Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund, Edmonton, be shifted to Alberta Investment Management Corp.
AIMCo is an institutional investment manager with more than C$108.2 billion of assets from more than 30 pension, endowment and government funds in Alberta.
The move is intended to "lower costs and achieve significant and necessary economies of scale" that would "protect returns to pensioners," the budget plan, published Oct. 24, said.
A spokeswoman for the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance said in an email Wednesday that the transfer is a proposed change until the appropriate legislation is introduced and passed in the Legislative Assembly.
As part of the budget proposal, the Alberta government also recommended that assets from the C$10.3 billion Workers' Compensation Board and the C$2.3 billion Alberta Health Services, both in Edmonton, also be transferred to AIMCo for management. A spokeswoman for health agency declined to comment on the matter; and a spokesman for the compensation board did not immediately respond.
AIMCo already manages a small portion of the Workers' Compensation Board's assets, the treasury spokeswoman said.
The Alberta fund in a statement on its website said that fund personnel were only informed of the proposed change when the budget proposal was released. "The ATRF Board and Management have a number of questions and are in the process of seeking information and answers to those questions," the statement said.
"What we do know is that our commitment to plan members and employees is our utmost priority. To this end, we'll continue to provide the superior investment management and service delivery our members have come to expect from ATRF, and we will endeavor to share any and all updates as soon as they become available. Note that the change should not immediately affect pension benefits or contributions," the statement says.
Over the weekend, Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers' Association, Edmonton, said in a statement published on the association's website that the decision without the input of teachers made the move "feel like a hijacking."
"Why didn't they talk to us? Individual teachers contribute half of the money that funds the plan and now will have no say over the management of those funds," Mr. Schilling said in the statement.