Alaska Legislators Question Direction of Permanent Fund Corporation

Members of the Alaska Legislature expressed skepticism about the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) during a hearing of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee. This hearing marked the committee’s first session since leaked internal emails raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest involving board member Gabrielle Rubenstein.

Investment Strategy Under Scrutiny

The APFC manages Alaska’s $80 billion trust fund, which significantly contributes to the state budget. Representative Ben Carpenter (R-Nikiski), who chairs the committee, posed a pointed question: “Are we growing the fund for other people’s purposes?” He specifically questioned whether the corporation’s investment strategy benefits specific individuals.

alaska permanent fund

To meet earnings targets, a substantial portion of the fund is now invested in private equity—a riskier but historically higher-yielding asset class. Leaked emails suggest that investment staff felt pressure from board vice chair Gabrielle Rubenstein, co-founder of a private equity firm. Last month, the board unanimously voted to increase the target share of the fund invested in private equity.

Defending the Fund’s Integrity

Deven Mitchell, CEO of the Permanent Fund, defended the investment decisions, emphasizing that they were made in the fund’s best interest. He stated, “I would defend the performance of the staff and the investment team to have made decisions based on what they believe is best for the fund, rather than any other purpose.”

Accumulating Concerns

During the meeting, Representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage) expressed broader concerns beyond the leaked emails. He cited disputes over the Anchorage office, investment decisions outside the norm, and the APFC’s allocation of up to $200 million in private equity investments within the state.


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