By Angela Rodell
Forty-five years ago, with the foresight of a time beyond their newfound oil wealth, Alaskans took the initiative to create the Permanent Fund, thus constitutionally protecting a portion of the royalties for future generations. As a steward of the Fund, the Permanent Fund Corporation was established to invest the assets in an innovative financial structure which continues today to stand as a model for sovereign wealth funds globally. The legacy of the Alaska Permanent Fund is, and always has been, a source of pride to the state, and as a state-owned investment company, APFC is at our core vested with Alaska and invested with Alaskans.
We as Alaskans are now at a crossroads, as we continue the transition away from more than 50 years of dependence on oil revenues and being accustomed to nearly 40 years of receiving dividends. Finding an economically sound solution to support the state and Alaskans is more important now than ever, and it’s clear to see why the Permanent Fund is at the center of the current fiscal policy conversation. Now providing more than 70% of the state’s unrestricted spending from investment earnings, the Alaska Permanent Fund has continually proven itself as the renewable financial resource it was designed to be.
As the Fund continues its evolution as an endowment, we stand with our fellow Alaskans to unite in our support for the future of Alaska. As the CEO of this corporation, I want to reassure Alaskans that we remain fully committed to our vital role, understanding that our performance directly correlates to increased financial support for the essential services our fellow Alaskans depend on, including health, safety and infrastructure.
Fiscal year 2021, which ended on June 30, was like none other in recent history. While achieving record growth and performance throughout the past fiscal year, we did so always conscious of unresolved economic and social uncertainties related to the pandemic.
When considering the corporation as a whole, I’ve been inspired by the positive culture and commitment of each member on our team of public servants, our Board of Trustees and what we’ve achieved together. We are proud of our work but also humble, not taking for granted the people of Alaska for continuing to have the courage to support this endeavor, knowing how important it is to protect the Fund for the good of our communities today and into the future.
I want to take a moment to celebrate the achievements of our team of sophisticated investment managers as the Fund topped $80 billion in FY21, exceeding expectations and benchmark forecasts, creating real value by actively investing the assets of the Permanent Fund. Overall outperformance of our passive benchmark by 1.29% or $1.1 billion in FY21 is a tangible measure of the Fund’s performance, which directly benefits all Alaskans. While we are proud of these results, we remain focused on the long-term sustainability of the Fund, where we have outperformed the passive benchmark by 1.80% or $10.4 billion over the past 10 years. With cautionary warning signs already seen in the first quarter of FY22, we recognize that a path of exponential growth is not likely to continue indefinitely. By adhering to our diversified and risk adjusted asset allocation, APFC will consistently work to protect this source of intergenerational wealth.
Detailed financial information and highlights from FY21 can be found in the APFC Annual Report at annualreport.apfc.org. This year’s theme, “Invested with Alaskans,” resonates with me because it is what APFC does every day. As fiduciaries and stewards of the state’s most valuable financial asset, we remain committed to protecting and growing the Permanent Fund for Alaskans today, and for generations to come.