Changes to ATRF Responsible Investing Process and PRI Membership

April 1, 2021

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ATRF has a long history of ensuring Alberta teachers’ pension funds are invested responsibly, and in a way that reflects the values of ATRF and its members.

ATRF developed a Responsible Investing Policy and implemented it in 2017. Since then, that policy has been closely adhered to and has been a part of every investment decision made by the ATRF investment management group. This means all investments are reviewed considering environmental, social, and governance factors, alongside the risk and potential returns.

In 2019 ATRF also became a signatory of the Principles of Responsible Investing Secretariat (PRI) as a way of further demonstrating this commitment. PRI is an international non-profit organization that promotes the same kind of responsible investing principles advocated by ATRF.

In 2020 the Government of Alberta introduced legislation that changed the way ATRF assets were managed, requiring ATRF to transfer responsibility for asset management to AIMCo, while continuing ATRF’s responsibility for setting the strategic direction of investments.

ATRF is currently working with AIMCo to complete that transfer as required by law, and to determine the best way of ensuring the direction set out by ATRF is appropriately implemented. This includes ensuring ATRF’s commitment to responsible investing continues.

AIMCo is also a PRI signatory, with a long-standing and robust PRI reporting process. ATRF’s ongoing membership in PRI would require ATRF to dedicate resources to the PRI’s annual reporting process as well. This significant undertaking would require the reassignment of ATRF resources this year that are fully engaged in the asset transfer process, disrupting ATRF’s effort to ensure that the best possible structure is developed for ATRF pension plans and members.

ATRF remains committed to ensuring the spirit of its Responsible Investing Policy is respected, while also focusing on the requirement to fulfill its legal obligation to transfer its asset management operations to AIMCo. ATRF has determined, in consultation with the PRI, that these two goals are best achieved at this time by ATRF’s withdrawal from PRI at the end of the membership year ending 31-March 2021. ATRF assets will be included in AIMCo’s regular PRI reporting process upon completion of the asset transfer.

ATRF is developing a comprehensive reporting package to ensure members and stakeholders are fully informed about the results of their investments under this new management agreement. As part of that reporting, responsible investing principles will be monitored and reported on to ensure ATRF’s deeply held values in this area continue under this new arrangement.