Letters to the Editor

Letter: Permanent Fund trustee selection

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. office locations may be lesser issues for attracting management talent. Top investment professionals may be concerned about recent high-level staff leaving. Confidence has been shaken. The Legislature might well take up how to add quality to the way board members are chosen. There have been suggestions to enlarge the board and lengthen terms, to vet candidates for expertise, and to add legislative confirmation for appointments. All are worthy to consider.

In 1996, when the fund had $18 billion, a bill passed with near unanimity: Senate Bill 89, which aimed for more experienced trustees. It was vetoed by then-Gov. Tony Knowles. Since then, former Department of Revenue commissioner and APFC board president Eric Wohlforth, as well as Commonwealth North, have continued that advocacy.

Then-Sen. Steve Rieger, recently not reappointed as an APFC trustee, was prime sponsor of SB 89. As chair of the fund governance committee, he proposed six changes, rejected by the board, that are similar to recent Legislative Budget and Audit (LB&A) committee chair Sen. Natasha Von Imhof’s own list presented in 2022 — that committee has the oversight duty regarding the Permanent Fund.

More sophisticated investment management should result in higher earnings. With more stable management, confidence in working for us will be enhanced and our present competent fund staff will be encouraged. Water the root and the plant can flower!

— Larry Smith


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Larry Smith

Larry Smith is a longtime Homer resident who finds himself “constantly amazed by the Alaska oil industry for 50 years."