Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 21, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund Board / ATRF was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017):
- ATRF supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments of up to 95% of salary for up to 8 weeks as well as flexible hours to help them transition to their new roles as parents
- As part of ATRF's health benefits plan, the organization offers a health spending account of up to $750, allowing employees to top-up existing levels of coverage based on their personal needs
- Employees who are new to ATRF receive 3 weeks of paid vacation allowance to start as well as up to 14 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled at the employees' discretion
ATRF delivers on its promises - to teachers and staff
When Jill Bruce began working for the Alberta Teachers' Retirement Fund (ATRF) in a temporary summer position in 1982, her first task was to work on a new filing system, a project anticipated to take all summer. Bruce, a recent high school graduate, completed it in two weeks.
Impressed, her supervisors found her a variety of projects working with different managers. Everyone who worked with Bruce quickly recognized her valuable contributions, and not long after, she was offered a permanent role at ATRF, which manages and administers pension plans for 80,000 teachers.
"There's a lot of opportunity for movement here," says Bruce. "After leading various projects, I started my business degree program hoping to get a supervisory position." Over several years and supported by ATRF, she completed that degree, and is now Manager of Member Services.
"We're constantly looking for ways to improve," says Bruce. "That really drives me. It's a real motivator."
Rod Matheson, who took over as CEO of ATRF in 2014, had previously spent more than three decades as a civil servant with the Alberta government. He was immediately struck by ATRF employees' commitment "to deliver on the pension promise for the members. It's an almost contagious kind of culture."
He notes that member satisfaction rates consistently exceeding 90 per cent reflect staff's dedication to their jobs. "We deal with our members all day," he says. "We make sure that from the moment every new teacher signs up to the plan to the time their pension payments are deposited in their bank accounts, we are here working for them."
ATRF's investment portfolio has grown rapidly in recent years. The $13.4 billion fund, which is invested around the world in all major asset classes, is expected to reach $20 billion by 2020.
"From a professional point of view, it's a very exciting time to work in our investment department," says Matheson.
He adds that continued plan member growth also impacts the key pension administration side of the business, and is driving a need for enhanced human resources, information technology, legal and finance skills.
Both Matheson and Bruce stress that ATRF is an all-around top employer that offers a variety of social events, excellent health and wellness benefits, and flexible work hours. There is, as expected, one other increasingly rare but valuable advantage - membership in a top-notch defined benefit pension plan.