Executive Committee to set an Investment Committee

Robert Thomas

Getting a bigger bang from the approximate $80 million the City has in various reserves was the topic as Executive Committee decided to approve a draft bylaw to set up an investment committee.

Addressing the committee, Finance Director Brian Acker said the members of the committee would have to act with “the care, skill and prudence that a prudent person would act.”

The committee would be comprised of the City Manager, City Treasurer, Director of Financial Services, as well as three members of council.

Asked about the potential of Citizens At Large on the Committee, Acker said the draft bylaw does not allow it, as they would have no “fiduciary obligation” to act prudently.

“They (citizens at large) have no interest to act on the benefit to the City,” he stated, adding later “ultimately, at the end of the day, we are responsible for what we manage.”

Despite not allowing citizens at large on the committee, the quarterly meetings would be open to the public.

“A written record of all meetings would occur and they would be public meetings,” he stated.
The committee would not have final say in changing investment strategy but all changes would come back to Council.

Councillor Dawn Luhning asked if hiring an investment manager was necessary. “I’m not convinced that we would need that (investment manager) all of the time…I’m a little bit concerned it ties us to hiring someone,” she stated.

Acker replied that the intent was to hire an investment manager, as it was not somebody the City had in-house. An investment manager was necessary not just for their expertise but also because there was a potential for a large number of transactions, Acker said.

Councillor Don Mitchell said he was comfortable supporting the motion and the absentee Councillor Brian Swanson was “being alarmist.”

Councillor Chris Warren said “there is a common misconception in the community that we have this big pile of money and we just sit on it.”

Councillor Crystal Froese said it was important for the public to know the meetings were open for all and it was a great opportunity to revise the City’s investment policies to ones used by other jurisdictions to get better returns.

The draft bylaw and setting up an investment committee now goes to Council for approval.

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