Position Profile

Job Title:  Director, Investment & Debt and Accounting Group

Work Unit:  Strategic and Business Services Division Financial Services Branch, Investment & Debt Accounting Group (IDAG)

Ministry:  Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Competition Number:  1040206

Date:  January 2017
 

Background Information

 

The Treasury Board and Finance Ministry includes the Department; Alberta Pensions Services Corporation; Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo); Alberta Local Authorities Pension Plan Corporation; Alberta Securities Commission; Alberta Capital Finance Authority; Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB Financial); Alberta Insurance Council; Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation; Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission; Public Agency Secretariat, and Corporate Human Resources.  The Ministry also includes the following six regulated funds: Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund; Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Endowment Fund; Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund; Alberta Heritage Science and Engineering Research Endowment Fund; Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, and Alberta Risk Management Fund.

Position Summary

 

The Director promotes Government accountability by directing the operations of the Investment & Debt Accounting Group business unit (IDAG) within the Financial Services branch of the Department of Treasury Board and Finance. The Director of IDAG provides directions and guidance to a team of professional accountants overseeing the accounting for investments of approximately $90 billion held in government investment funds, endowment funds (including the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund), public service pension plans and other commercial enterprises. IDAG oversees the accounting for the government’s unmatured debt portfolio of approximately $41 billion. IDAG prepares the quarterly and annual financial statements of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund, financial statements for other endowment funds, government investments funds, pooled funds and investment notes and schedules for various public service pension plans and commercial enterprises.  IDAG oversees the establishment of investment accounting policy and its application, reconciles investments and cash accounts, analyzes and reports derivative transactions, investment balances, investment income and reports results to boards, committees and executive management. IDAG assists the Office of the Auditor General in fulfilling their legislative requirement to express an opinion on the Ministry’s annual financial statements.  The Director directs the accounting and reporting of a diverse and complex array of investment transactions held in over 60 investment pools whose participants include commercial enterprises, government entities and pension funds. Portfolio investments include real estate, public equities, bonds, mortgages, private equities, infrastructure investments, hedge funds, derivatives and timberland investments.

The Director leads a unit which interacts with officials of Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo). The Corporation was created on January 1, 2008 and provides investment management services to commercial and government entities and pension funds. AIMCo is responsible for daily trading of securities, portfolio research and analysis, custody of securities, valuation of securities, performance measurement, maintenance of investment systems and internal audit and compliance with investment policies.  Information provided by AIMCo’s investment systems is relied upon by IDAG in the preparation of financial statements.

With respect to AIMCo, while the Director of IDAG interacts with officials of AIMCo including extensive utilization of data and investment systems, the Director is not responsible for the accuracy or integrity of information provided by AIMCo or detection of any illegal acts or violations of investment policy should they occur. The Director of IDAG, has no direct authority over AIMCo’s operations, investment practices, policies, internal controls, processes, security valuations and systems. 

A key accountability of this position is to lend its expertise, leadership, and direction to the IDAG business unit which monitors allocations of pool funds investment income to participants; determining booked values of assets and income to be reported in various financial statements; and reporting on compliance with investment policies established by the government and pension plan boards. 

The Director is relied on to identify and resolve complex accounting, reporting, and risk management issues associated with the investment information provided by AIMCo, including participating in the  development and implementation of associated processes and systems that meet user requirements in a manner consistent with established accounting standards.  In addition, this position has shared responsibility for the development, implementation, and maintenance of Ministry accounting and financial policies and ensuring that accounting and financial policies of the Government are adhered to.

Reporting to the Executive Director, Financial Services, this position manages the Investment & Debt Accounting Group business unit operations and ensures resources are planned and directed to effectively and efficiently deliver outcomes.  The Director is relied on to build partnerships and collaborative working relationships to ensure that the work performed by the unit is coordinated with the various clients and entities served.  

Specific Accountabilities

  1.

Complex Investment & Debt and Accounting Group and consultation services are provided in relation to the recording of investment transactions.

Activities:

  • Directs interpretation and application of accounting policies for all transactions completed by AIMCo, including those pertaining to fixed income securities, public equities, equity index swaps, cross currency swaps, interest rate swaps, futures, options, forward foreign exchange contracts, private equity investments through limited partnerships, real estate, hedge funds, timberland and commodities; ensures associated consultation takes place with the Controller’s Office and AIMCo is advised as to the appropriate accounting treatment for transactions.
  • Develops accounting policies and procedures for use of AIMCo representatives when recording investment transactions in automated investment system.
  • Ensures all investment transactions are recorded in the government’s main reporting system IMAGIS.
  • Collaborates with senior AIMCo representatives to identify and resolve issues pertaining to risk management and ensure the requirements of the Investment & Debt Accounting Group business unit are incorporated in automated investment system.
     
  2.

Comprehensive financial statements are prepared for regulated endowment funds and government debt.

Activities:

  • Directs preparation of financial statements, including all notes and disclosures, for major regulated endowment funds (Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund (AHSTF); Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund; Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Endowment Fund; Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund; Alberta Heritage Science and Engineering Research Endowment Fund) and government debt. The preparation of financial statements includes:
    • writing down securities which have declined in value below cost and the decline is other than temporary. This involves a review of thousands of individual investments through comparison of cost to fair market value, determining write down policy and application, confirmation from portfolio managers of AIMCo and review by Auditor General and submission of write down list for processing in AIMCo’s investment system.
    • preparing and providing detailed listing of securities to the AHSTF Standing Committee, in accordance with accounting standards.
    • reviewing all complex derivative investments in investment portfolios including equity index swaps, cross currency swaps, index futures, options, forward foreign exchange contracts and interest rates swaps and preparing derivative notes and schedules summarizing their fair value and notional amounts and maturity profile.
    • reviewing gross investment expenses including estimates of external manager fees through enquiry, comparison discussion and analytical review.
    • reviewing presentations and notes with Financial Reporting business unit, the Controller’s Office, and the Office of the Auditor General(OAG), and preparing working papers supporting financial statement components and used by the OAG in connection with their audit opinion and field work.
    • circulating financial statements in accordance with established procedures and briefing the Director, Senior Financial Officer, and Deputy Minister on content and noteworthy or unusual items.  
     
  3.

Complex accounting and reporting services are provided for over 60 investment pools involving pension plans, government entities and commercial enterprises.

Activities:

  • Directs preparation of summary pooled statements and ensures IMAGIS is updated for all pooled fund investments.
  • Directs preparation bank reconciliations for all pooled funds and multiple bank accounts on monthly basis.
  • Ensures Investment & Debt and Accounting Group business unit representatives attend meetings with AIMCo and provide advice regarding application of accounting policies.
  • Directs preparation of pooled fund working papers and quarterly list of pooled funds, as well as analysis of pooled fund transactions and investment balances.
  • Responds to enquiries from the OAG in relation to investment pools.
     
  4.

Stakeholders are provided with comprehensive financial reports in relation to investments and unmatured debt of the Department of Treasury Board and Finance.  

Activities:

  • Directs preparation and recommends approval of the AHSTF annual and quarterly financial statements and reports, including reporting on compliance with investment policies set for the endowment funds; presents the AHSTF financial statements to the executive management of Treasury Board and Finance and to the OAG Audit Staff; participates in quarterly meetings of the AHSTF Standing Committee as required and responds to inquiries pertaining to the AHSTF.
  • Ensures financial statements are provided to the AHSTF Standing Committee; Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research; Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund; Alberta Heritage Foundation for Science and Engineering Research; Office of the Auditor General; and the public.
     
  5.

Comprehensive reporting services pertaining to investments and debt are provided as key aspects of the preparation of financial reports for the Department and Ministry.

Activities:

  • Directs activities to update the Department’s ledger for investment and debt transactions held through the Contingency Account and GRF Short Term Bond Pool, policy loans and unmatured debt.
  • Directs preparation of various schedules and notes related to investments and debt.
  • Directs reconciliation of ledgers and accounts for the investment pools that are part of the Department of Treasury Board and Finance and oversees their accounting policies.
  • Circulates investment and debt schedules in accordance with established procedures and briefs the Executive Director/Senior Financial Officer, Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister on content and noteworthy or unusual items.
     
  6.

Comprehensive accounting and reporting services pertaining to investments and debt are provided as key aspects of the preparation of financial reports for external pension plans.

Activities:

  • Oversees allocation of income from pooled investments to various pension plans in accordance with investment decisions of pension boards.
  • Directs preparation of investment schedules for inclusion in quarterly and annual financial statements for each pension plan, including all notes to the schedules.
  • Prepares the Management Discussion and Analysis (Investment portion) for each pension plan in conjunction with information received from AIMCo and distributes and communicates to pension plan board secretaries. Reviews website version of annual reports released publicly.
  • Briefs the Director, Financial Reporting and OAG representatives regarding presentations and notes, as well as briefing the Executive Director/Senior Financial Officer, Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister on content and noteworthy or unusual items.
     
  7.

Investments Accounting and Reporting business unit operations are planned and managed to deliver outcomes associated with business and operational plans and performance agreements.

Activities:

  • Manages staff members, including provision of coaching and development, recruitment, development of performance contracts, performance management, and ongoing allocation of workload.
  • Develops, implements, and continually enhances the business continuity plan.
  • Monitors and forecasts the unit budget.
  • Participates in the development of strategic and operational plans for the branch and implementation of priorities.
     
  8.

Ministry financial and accounting policies are developed, implemented, and continually enhanced.

Activities:

  • Contributes to development of policies and procedures to ensure efficient and effective financial administration, control, and accountability.
  • Represents the Ministry on cross-ministry and Government committees and working groups involving financial reporting policy streamlining and alignment.

Knowledge / Experience

 

The Director, Investment & Debt and Accounting Group requires:

  • a related university degree (i.e. Business / Commerce) and a professional accounting designation (CPA: CA, CMA or CGA) designation
  • extensive knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) with emphasis on accounting and disclosure requirements related to financial instruments.
  • comprehensive knowledge of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) handbook including Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) pronouncements and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
  • extensive specialized knowledge in investment products, investment systems and complex financial instruments and pension accounting and reporting given the Ministry’s accountability for assets of over $90 billion held in extremely diverse and complex investments (e.g. bonds, equities, hedge funds, real estate, derivatives, private equities, private income, timberland, limited partnerships and holding corporations)
  • extensive knowledge of Alberta Government legislation, policies and procedures (including the Financial Administration Act, Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act, the Medical Research Endowment Fund Act, Alberta Heritage Scholarship Act, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Science and Engineering Act, legislation impacting, government investment funds, pooled investment funds, pension plans and Manual of Financial Management)
  • extensive knowledge of Ministry-specific financial and operational policies and procedures
  • comprehensive knowledge of the Ministry's mandate, current strategies, and sensitive issues
  • knowledge of continual process improvement and process re-engineering principles and practices
  • sensitivity to political and economic trends impacting the Government and Ministry
  • thorough knowledge of business-related software and relevant automated financial systems

Essential Experience:

  • Extensive management experience in financial accounting and financial statement reporting (particularly in relation to highly complex investments) is required, along with extensive experience working with financial information systems such as IMAGIS / PeopleSoft and Microsoft Office programs.

Leadership and Business Know-How

 

The Director, Investment & Debt Accounting Group requires: 

  • ability to provide leadership and guidance to staff and diverse client groups
  • excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills to communicate effectively with individuals with diverse financial backgrounds
  • facilitation and consensus building abilities
  • demonstrated problem solving and analytical skills with the ability to provide critical analysis in a timely manner
  • experience managing human, fiscal, information and program resources in meeting business plan objectives
  • project management and evaluation skills
  • ability to build partnerships and form meaningful relationships with clients and partners and integrate their needs into business plans
  • ability to interpret and apply Alberta Government legislation, regulations and standards and Ministry policies and procedures
  • ability to develop policies applicable to Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

The Director provides expertise, leadership, and direction to a business unit responsible for complex investment, debt, and pension accounting and reporting for approximately $90 billion of assets on behalf of the Ministry and Government, as well as for the accounting and distribution of transaction for over 60 investment pools involving commercial and government entities and pension funds.  The position is also responsible for developing and managing a succession plan to ensure the work is completed within legislative timelines. 

This position builds relationships with and provides expertise to clients and partners, including senior representatives of AIMCo to identify and resolve complex accounting, reporting, and risk management issues; the determination of allocations from investment pools; and the Office of the Controller to determine the implications of accounting treatment of investment transactions.  

Problem Solving

 

The Director identifies and resolves highly complex investment, debt, and pension accounting and reporting issues on behalf of the Ministry and Government. In addition to preparing financial statements for endowment funds and government debt, this position oversees the preparation of investment notes and schedules that accompany the Department and Ministry financial statements.  In addition, the Director is relied upon to prepare the Management Discussion and Analysis reports for pension plans and their boards and for the AHSTF and its Standing Committee.

A key challenge for this position is to direct professional staff responsible for monitoring the allocation of pooled funds investment income to fund participants representing commercial and government entities and pension funds. The complexity of the accounting aspect of allocating investment returns has increased significantly as the number and complexity of pools, strategies, partnerships, co-ownerships expands. In addition, different accounting standards and frameworks must be applied depending on the type of participant, to which funds are distributed, further contributing to complexity of the allocation exercise.

The establishment of AIMCo on January 1, 2008 has resulted in significant challenges for the Director in relation to the communication and implementation of accounting policies relating to the accurate accounting treatment of investment transactions and providing critical input to defining user requirements associated with the development and implementation of the investment system. In addition, this position is expected to continually enhance operational efficiencies in an environment governed by uncertainty and fiscal restraint, exploiting technology and developing business processes to meet those challenges.

The Director of IDAG functions within the context of policies, directives, and guidelines developed by Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Treasury Board, and Cabinet. Government policies and statutes provide the mandate for the major outcomes expected of the Investment & Debt and Accounting Group. Key pieces of legislation and policy that set parameters and expectations for the work of the Director include the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act, the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act, various endowment fund acts, pension plan regulations, the Financial Administration Act; Regulatory Reform initiatives; and policies and guidelines established by Cabinet and Alberta Treasury Board and Finance with the input of the Auditor General, the Minister, and the Deputy Minister. 

Within these parameters, the Director is delegated extensive authority to determine approaches to responsibilities and provide leadership to operations. Although this position works within the framework of general policies and principles, there is extensive authority to plan and direct programs and develop related financial controls, systems, and procedures that respond to the unique requirements of the Ministry.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Minister, Deputy Minister

As required

Communication of deliverables

Executive Director/Senior Financial Officer, Assistant Deputy Minister

As required

Ongoing communication and direction setting

Investment & Debt and Accounting Group team members

Daily

Leadership, work assignment and evaluation, mentoring and problem solving support

Senior Management within the Ministry and Department, including AIMCo

Daily

Offer direction and guidance in the accounting and reporting of investments and debt

External

Financial and Reporting Standards – Treasury Board

As required

Provide input to accounting and financial policies and serve as a resource for the group

Auditor General

Weekly/Daily

Assist in the audit of the financial statements; respond to enquiries pertaining to investment pools; provide working paper files

Treasury Board and Finance Audit Committee

Annually

Presentation of Ministry’s financial statements for endowment funds and pension plans and respond to enquiries

AHSTF Standing Committee

Quarterly

Representation at quarterly meetings, responds to enquiries

Representatives of commercial entities, pension plans, and government entities

As required

Provide information regarding distribution of funds from investment pools; provide investment notes and schedules; and respond to enquiries

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)

 

Long-term direction for Strategic and Business Services, the Financial Services branch, and the Investment & Debt and Accounting Group are determined by senior Ministry and Government officials. The work carried out is complex and affected significantly by political decisions and priorities established in the Government and Ministry strategic and business plans. As a member of the branch management team, the Director is jointly responsible for achieving branch goals and contributing to the achievement of relevant Ministry goals. The Director is accountable for defining priorities and objectives for the Investment, Debt and Accounting Group and directing operations and resources to achieve goals and results.  
 
In addition to managing the delivery of highly complex investment, debt, and pension accounting and reporting for over $90 billion of assets held in highly diverse investments, this position is accountable for the accounting and distribution of transactions for over 60 investment pools involving extremely diverse and complex investments. Through leadership of staff members, the Director ensures comprehensive financial statements and reports are developed for regulated endowment funds and government debt, and investment schedules and notes are prepared for inclusion with the Department and Ministry financial reports and those provided to external pension plans.

A key accountability of this position is to monitor the allocation of pooled fund investment income to fund participants representing commercial and government entities and pension funds, each of which has different accounting standards that must be applied in distributing funds. Other entities rely extensively on the Director and the business unit to determine their allocation of income from the investment pools.

In addition, the exposure of financial statements and/or accompanying investment schedules and notes prepared for pension plans and endowment funds is very high, ranging from pension plan boards and plan members to AHSTF Standing Committee and the public. Not only is there operational risk associated with adjustments having to be made to financial reports as a result of audits, there is significant reputational risk associated with the need to resubmit financial statements or notes to pension boards or standing committee and public.

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