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Letter to Premier Blaine Higgs / Lettre Higgs 12 juillet 2021

July 12, 2021

The Honourable Blaine Higgs, M.L.A.

Premier of New Brunswick

Chancery Place

P. O. Box 6000

Fredericton, NB

E3B 5H1

Dear Premier,

Recently a survey by RBC of Canadian pension funds revealed that Vestcor earned some of the lowest returns in Canada. According to the survey, it is the fourth year in the last five that investment earnings posted by Vestcor have ranked in the bottom half. As if this was not enough to be of concern to retirees and active pension fund contributors, it is also the second year in a row it has generated investment returns among the bottom quarter for all pension funds surveyed. However, despite all of that, Vestcor continues to promote its investment performance.

Premier Higgs, you have denied access to a full audit of Vestcor by the Auditor General on the basis of it being a private company. Let us be reminded that the majority of assets managed by Vestcor are 100% public funds contributed by retirees of the public sector, teachers, active civil servants as well as MLAs. Vestcor does not manage any private pension plan of note, given this lackluster performance.

I recall that earlier when you were promoting the virtues of the shared risk plan, you mentioned that the investment portfolio at the time should be sold to larger investment firms for better returns. You were probably correct in your analysis. But to deny access to the Auditor General to fully audit Vestcor on its lackluster performance and outlandish performance bonuses over the years is totally unacceptable. It defies the legal authority of the Auditor General. Please explain the logic of a full audit for public funds given to ATCON- a private entity and not Vestcor? It just does not add up. What are you and Mr. Sinclair trying to hide?

It is time to open the books fully for a fulsome audit as envisioned by then auditor general Kim Adair-MacPherson and if a legal challenge is necessary, so be it!!! Enough is enough.


Claire Lepage

Chairperson Pension Coalition NB

cc. Acting Auditor General – Janice Leahy

David Coon - Green Party

Roger Melanson - Liberal Party

Kris Austin - People's Alliance of NB