Investment solutions for Alberta Municipalities
We offer products that meet the unique needs of investors. This enables investors to direct funds to professional investment management services, in order to achieve greater potential investment returns, improved risk reduction through diversification and lower fees through economies of scale. Investing with us is your local option—with funds and support going back to Alberta municipalities and related organizations.
The program is built on solid partnerships developed with credible, successful organizations. These partnerships are formed only after rigorous due diligence, conducted on behalf of our members. We are pleased to announce the selection of five world-class service providers that will provide investment expertise; Aon Hewitt, CIBC Wood Gundy, CIBC Mellon, Beutel Goodman and Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo).
Frequently asked questions
What is MuniFunds? What different products and investment types are available?
MuniFunds provides Alberta municipalities access to professional investment management and custody/fund administrative services. MuniFunds is operated by the Alberta Municipal Services Corporation.
MuniFunds currently invests in a Money Market Fund (for investments up to 12 months).
Why was MuniFunds created?
Several municipalities approached AMSC asking for a low cost aggregated investment program that would offer investment alternatives for reserve cash. MuniFunds Investment Regulation permits municipalities to invest in products, through MuniFunds, that are otherwise unavailable to them.
How do we enrol?
Simply download the MuniFunds Enrolment Package (see below). Once the package is complete, return two original copies to us; the agreement will be reviewed for approval and an original will be returned to you.
We will ensure your accounts are properly set up with the custodian. Arrangements for a first deposit are prepared between the municipality and the custodian.
What makes MuniFunds different than my bank?
MuniFunds allow your municipality to realize stronger returns than can typically be realized through your bank. Munifund lets you choose an investment product that best fits your investment circumstances, maximizing the return potential of your investments while minimizing risk and ensuring regulatory compliance. MuniFunds revenues are sent as a dividend to the AUMA to fund further advocacy activities on behalf of Alberta municipalities and is operated through AMSC. Ultimately, revenues generated from AMSC services are sent as a dividend to the AUMA to fund.
Is my municipality or organization too small / large to participate?
Organizations of all sizes can invest in MuniFunds. Currently, we have municipalities with a population as small as a few hundred and others with hundreds of thousands participating in MuniFunds. Smaller municipalities benefit from being included in larger, more cost-effective market purchases. Larger municipalities benefit from the stronger returns and lower costs realized through aggregated investment purchases. This makes MuniFunds an attractive investment for all municipalities and eligible organizations and can be an appropriate investment vehicle for all municipalities and eligible organizations.
What is the minimum investment?
The minimum investment in any single fund is $5,000. This limit also applies to redemptions.
Is there a minimum time that we must enrol for?
There is no minimum time in which the investment must remain in the fund(s). Further, there are no fees or penalties for any redemption, except any administrative fees charged by your own financial institution.
Each fund is operated with a specific investment horizon in mind so attention to these time frames is important to ensure the predictability of investment returns through the MuniFunds.
Who do I contact with technical/performance-related questions about MuniFunds?
How is the fund valued and how can I get my balance?
Based on the value of the securities held in each portfolio, the MuniFunds investment custodian, CIBC Mellon, values the total of each fund each day and your balance is based on your proportional ownership of the entire fund.
What are the fees for MuniFunds?
The fees involved in MuniFunds are nominal compared to other investment options available in the public sector. All fees are accrued daily based on the amount of your municipality’s investment. The current annualized fee schedule is as follows:
|Money Market Fund||19 basis points|
For example, if you invested $1,000,000 in the MuniFunds Money Market Fund for one year, the annual fees incurred would be $1,900. This all inclusive fee encompasses administration, the fund manager, registered dealer, custodian/record keeper, and independent investment advisor.
Is my principal investment guaranteed?
MuniFunds was created using input from many municipalities who helped develop the program’s investment beliefs. As such, the focus is on capital preservation and low risk investments. However, the investment is not guaranteed. All MuniFunds products are managed by professional fund managers who monitor the funds and associated risk on a daily basis. The fund manager’s performance is then evaluated by the independent investment advisor.
How do we make withdrawal requests?
All investments and withdrawals must be initiated by a fax instruction, signed by an authorized municipal employee to CIBC-Mellon, the MuniFunds custodian. Currently, MuniFunds instruction forms are found on the AUMA website.
How liquid are investments in the MuniFunds?
As a rule, if withdrawal instructions are faxed to the MuniFunds custodian by 4:00 p.m. (EST) on any given day, the funds will be in your bank account three business days later. MuniFunds reserves the right to withhold funds for up to three working days for Money Market and Bond Funds.
Do you guarantee regulatory compliance?
The Alberta Securities Commission regulates all investment activity in the Province of Alberta. AMSC is registered as an investment fund manager with the Alberta Securities Commission. AMSC is further required to have a qualified Chief Compliance Officer on staff. The position’s primary function is to ensure AMSC’s compliance, as well as that of our partners (i.e. fund managers, custodian/fund administrator), for the purpose of protecting the investor.
AMSC also ensures that its investment holdings comply with the Investment Regulations as outlined in the Municipal Government Act.
Who are the MuniFunds fund managers?
Alberta Investment Management Corporation manages MuniFunds Money Market Fund.
Why is there a third-party independent investment advisor if there are professional fund managers?
The third-party independent investment advisor is responsible for annually reviewing and reporting on the performance of fund managers. The consultant also provides objective and independent advice to AMSC staff on the management of the MuniFunds program.
Money market fund
This pooled fund is managed with the objective of providing competitive interest income to investors while maintaining very high capital preservation and liquidity. The fund, which is managed by AIMCo (an Alberta Crown Corporation), is comprised of high quality, short-term and mid-term fixed income securities with a maximum term to maturity of three years. The Money Market Fund performance is measured against the DEX 91-day T-Bill Index. This fund may be suitable for investors with an investment horizon of less than one year.
In addition to the investment funds already discussed, AMSC Investment Services provides members access to this additional benefit:
Investment policy review
An investment policy is recommended for any investor. The services of Aon Hewitt, AMSC’s third party investment consultant, can be engaged for the purpose of conducting an investment policy review and development. The cost for this service is $1,500, with $1,000 reimbursed upon enrolment into the program; subject to a minimum investment of $500,000. This means the net cost to the member is just $500 for a professionally constructed investment policy.
The MuniFunds Subscription Package contains all of the documents necessary to participate in the service.
The MuniFunds Forms package contains the necessary documents to send trade instructions, including deposits, redemptions and transfers.
AUMA Regular and eligible Associate members are welcome to participate in the program. If you have Associate membership and would like to learn more, contact us.