APEX members have the option to take their APEX benefit as monthly payments or in a single lump sum payment. This lump sum is called the commuted value (CV). The CV is augmented by a cost of living allowance (COLA) when it is paid.
To make APEX sustainable over the long-term, CVs taken after January 1, 2020 will no longer include the COLA on any APEX contributions made after December 31, 2019.
This change will not affect monthly pension payments, which will continue to be augmented by the annual COLA before and after you retire.
To stay informed about the changes to APEX, please complete this online form. We will send you e-mails with information and updates.
APEX is a supplementary pension plan designed to enhance your pension payments. A CV is made available so you can add the lump sum to your other retirement savings where it might continue to grow and boost your monthly pension payments.
The COLA added to a CV is taken from the pool of APEX savings. If we continue to add the COLA to future CVs, it will deplete the fund making it unsustainable for current APEX members, our future retirees.
It is very unusual for a COLA to be paid on a pension plan CV.
The change was approved by the APEX Board and the Alberta Municipal Services Corporation (AMSC) Board. We have submitted the change to Alberta’s Superintendent of Pensions who ensures all pension plans comply with the Employment Pension Plans Act. The Superintendent’s approval for the update was received on June 12, 2019.
The difference in CV values for someone in their 50s will be minimal. The chart below provides an example for someone aged 52 on a salary of $133,000. Their commuted value before the change would be about $82,000. After the change, the CV would be $78,000. In this example, removing the COLA means a difference of $4,000. Notice that, if instead of a CV this person takes the monthly pension, the monthly payment remains unchanged.
The second example (below) for someone aged 29 on a salary of about $78,000 would be eligible for a CV of about $75,000 without the COLA augmentation. However, if they take the monthly pension payment, it will remain unchanged at $6,000 per month.
Throughout the last quarter of 2018, AUMA conducted a series of consultations with employers’ plan administrators from across the province. We sought to learn what the best solution would be to ensure the long-term sustainability for APEX for all contributors. The change being introduced to APEX was based on the feedback we received from them.
Sep – Nov, 2018: Consultations with plan administrators
Feb, 2019: APEX Board approved change
Mar, 2019: Superintendent of Pensions advised of pending change
May, 2019: AMSC Board approved change
Jun 11, 2019: APEX changes webpage published
Jun 12, 2019: Superintendent of Pensions approved change
Jun 14, 2019: Notice mailed to APEX members & employers
Oct, 2019: APEX Rate Contribution notices mailed to employers & employees
Jan 1, 2020: Change to commuted value takes effect
We will keep you informed of the changes through this webpage. If you would like us to e-mail you about the change to APEX, please fill out the online form. Please understand that by providing us your e-mail address, you are agreeing to receive future correspondence about your APEX Pension Plan via the e-mail address you submit to us.
Should you have any questions, please call us at 310.AUMA(2869).