Receipts exceeded internal projections during pandemic economy
Little Rock, Ark. (Aug. 17, 2021) – Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan earned the state $11.16 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, bringing the total earned for the fiscal year that ended June 30 to $35.4 million.
“Compared to FY 2015, when interest rates were similar and we weren’t going through a global pandemic, that’s a substantial increase,” he said. “My investment team has been relentless in pursuing opportunities to provide our portfolio with as much cost-saving and interest-producing opportunities as possible – exceeding even our own expectations for FY 21.”
The state’s short-term portfolio, which is made up of demand and money market accounts and is heavily dependent on the federal interest rate, earned $659,000, while the state’s long-term portfolio, made up mostly of agency and Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, earned $10.5 million during the fourth quarter.
Since the covid pandemic began, the Fed has been purchasing US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities weekly in order to help keep financial markets stable, Milligan told the State Board of Finance today. This has kept rates low and inflated asset prices across all sectors of the market, he added.
“For investors like the State of Arkansas, who only trade in fixed-income securities such as these, we’re in a unique situation. The market is flush with cash as investors wait on rates to rise, and anytime there is an upward fluctuation, bonds are scooped up quickly,” Milligan said. “Simply put, there just aren’t enough bonds for the amount of cash investors have.”
However, under Milligan’s administration the state’s investment portfolio has grown from roughly $3.5 billion to nearly $5 billion, meaning the state has more money to invest and thus more opportunities to increase its earnings.
“Through our continual monitoring of the bond market and taking advantage of opportunities where we can despite historically low interest rates, we’ve been able to substantially increase earnings since I took office in 2015,” Milligan said.
“We’re setting up a solid foundation on which future treasurers can build upon, and by which taxpayers can rest assured they’re getting the most out of their hard-earned money.”
To watch a video summary of the fiscal year investment report, click here.
Dennis Milligan was elected Treasurer of State in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. The State Treasury is responsible for overseeing the state’s $5 billion portfolio. Since taking office in 2015, Milligan has receipted the state more than $420 million in investment returns and has grown the investment portfolio’s receipts to record highs. www.artreasury.gov.