(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: Permanent Fund office in Anchorage means Alaska-based opportunities for professional talent

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s vision is to deliver outstanding returns for the benefit of all current and future generations of Alaskans. Accomplishing this vision requires skilled and capable professional staff, consistent discipline in adhering to long-term strategies, and durable accountability to our stakeholders. It also requires the fortitude to be adaptable, to grow and to set forth meaningful action.

Expanding our in-state presence by opening a satellite office in Anchorage, in addition to the existing Juneau office, has been part of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s strategic plan for the past four years. This strategy brings value to our stakeholders by providing an Alaska-based opportunity to enhance our recruitment and retention of talented, high-performing investment management professionals.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. was created for the purpose of investing, safeguarding and accounting for the Permanent Fund for the long-term benefit of all Alaskans. As the largest sovereign wealth fund in the U.S. and second-largest per capita globally, APFC must meet or exceed the opportunities and resources available to our peers to achieve top investment returns. Recruitment and retention have been challenging for many employers, including APFC. Opening an additional office in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, will broaden the playing field by providing another option to retain existing employees and open another door to recruit new talent.

The directive to open an Anchorage office is part of the corporation’s 2020-2025 strategic plan and has been publicly discussed in meetings over the past four years. Considerations have also been made to advance and assess additional tools, including adopting a remote-work policy. Throughout, the board has patiently insisted on progress on the satellite office initiative. APFC is now moving forward with a cost-effective solution to open a satellite office because of an opportunity to lease space in the state- owned Cordova Building located in downtown Anchorage.

It is recognized that expanding opportunities to recruit and retain world-class talent in Alaska is essential to the ongoing success of APFC’s ability to generate revenue for our state. APFC has staffing resources for full-time positions; currently, there are 12 vacancies. Numerous special board meetings have focused on improving the retention of qualified, high-performing staff and creating incentives to fill vacancies. To ensure the corporation has all the tools necessary to support staffing needs, progress has been made on enhancing the organization’s culture, better defining and increasing pay scales, making remote work more accessible, and now the Anchorage office as part of those more extensive efforts.

The Alaska Permanent Fund is Alaska’s renewable financial resource, providing more than 50% of the revenue to support state services and programs. It takes a team of dedicated corporate professionals to ensure that the expectations of our fellow Alaskans, partners and stakeholders are met in meeting the performance objectives of investing billions of dollars of assets across a globally diverse and sophisticated portfolio.

At the forefront, the trustees are entrusted with ensuring that the Alaska Permanent Fund is prudently managed and invested for the intergenerational benefit of all Alaskans. To do so, the Permanent Fund is invested for the long-term horizon — into perpetuity, permanently — to benefit generation after generation of Alaskans. We all must recognize that strategic growth, both for the fund and the corporation, is essential to the success of both.

While we recognize that this new satellite office has raised questions among Alaskans, we ask for your support in our initiative to provide additional Alaska-based staffing opportunities. In working with our statewide partners, we look forward to providing further flexibility for APFC’s leadership in recruiting and retaining world-class talent in Alaska.

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