Posted on May 7, 2021


EDMONTON - Alberta’s university instructors are starting to pull their pension out of AIMCo, while the Kenney government continues to force K-12 teachers to move their pension into the underperforming investment company.


“University teachers are voting with their wallets, and protecting their pensions by leaving AIMCo,” said NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray. “But the UCP government has hijacked K-12 teacher pensions, and are locking them into terrible returns with AIMCo.”


At a meeting of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund committee today, government officials were unable to explain why K-12 teachers remain compelled to use the beleaguered asset manager while university teachers removed a large part of their pension assets from AIMCo’s control.

In December 2020, the Universities Academic Pension Plan terminated its relationship with AIMCo for its public equities portfolio, and will be undertaking “investment manager searches” for the rest of its portfolio throughout 2021. 


According to the latest Alberta Heritage Saving Trust Fund Quarterly Report, AIMCo’s active investment strategy resulted in a loss of 8.5% relative to the passive benchmark. Applying AIMCo’s losses on the Heritage Fund to AIMCo’s total assets under management suggests a loss of nearly $10 billion relative to the passive benchmark over the past 12 months.


Over the past year, AIMCo has drawn international attention for its failed VOLTS strategy that lost a staggering $2.1 billion, which led to widespread criticism amongst clients, and the appointment of a new CEO


“Alberta’s K-12 teachers have been telling Jason Kenney to keep his hands off their pensions,” Gray said, “and now we can see the hypocrisy of Bill 22 in full view. If you’re a university teacher, you get control, if you’re a K-12 teacher, Jason Kenney gets control of your pension.” 


In November 2019, the UCP government passed Bill 22, which forced the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) to use AIMCo as their exclusive investment manager, despite the overwhelming negative reaction from teachers. In January 2021, the Alberta Teachers’ Association launched a lawsuit against a Ministerial Order issued by UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews which imposed an Investment Management Agreement on the ATRF and gave ultimate investment control to AIMCo.