Treasury held steady amid several changes
(Aug. 11, 2020) Little Rock, Ark. – Investment receipts for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, were $11.4 million, bringing the annual total for fiscal 2020 to $80.7 million, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan announced to the State Board of Finance today.
“We held steady amid so many major changes going on, both with our investment strategy and in the world, and we’re celebrating these earnings today,” Milligan said.
The investment climate during FY 2020 was difficult due to geo-political tensions worldwide and more so, the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
“When the Federal Open Market Committee dropped rates to zero in March, that put us on the same playing field as we were during the Great Recession of 2008,” Milligan told the Board, adding that the Treasury had liquidated its short-term holdings to provide plenty of cash on hand to support the state during the pandemic. But he cautioned members that the next fiscal year will be hard.
“Until we’re able to see some renewed activity and stability in the bond market in response to Covid, I expect us to remain in the lower-yielding environment,” Milligan said.
Despite the pandemic’s effect on the fixed income market, Milligan said his team is working hard to set the Treasury up to become a stable and reliable income source for the state.
“There are many ways to respond in a crisis such as this, and we have been focused on using the opportunity to reset the foundation: Taking the opportunity to move out of underperforming assets, restructure the investment policy and build an operation that can be relied upon for many years to come,” Milligan said. “Like any prudent investor, we are more focused on the long term and will withstand the lows just as we do the highs.”
Dennis Milligan was elected Treasurer of State in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. The State Treasury is responsible for overseeing the state’s $4.5 billion portfolio. Since taking office in 2015, Milligan has receipted the state more than $390 million in investment returns and has grown the investment portfolio’s receipts to record highs. www.artreasury.gov.