Delaware state portfolio improving

After a nearly $20 million decline from 2009 to 2011, Delaware’s investment portfolio is in its second year of increase, according to state Treasurer Chip Flowers.  

As part of his presentation to the Joint Finance Committee this week, Flowers gave his projections for the state’s investment portfolio for the year.  He says the gross earned income from the portfolio should reach nearly $22.5 million.  That’s an increase from $20.9 million in FY 2012, which was Flowers’ first full year in the office.

Reflecting the national economic downturn, Delaware’s investment portfolio declined from $37.8 million in FY 2009 to $19.3 million in FY 2011.  Now that the returns are on the way back up, Flowers credits a “gradual restructuring” of the portfolio, which was recommended by independent advisor, Credit Suisse Securities.  They found that the state’s investments had been generating “historically low returns” that did not keep up with the rate of inflation.

Overall, Flowers says Delaware’s financial picture is strong.  “I think the state is doing very well financially, at least from the treasury’s perspective.”  While Flowers’ office doesn’t handle the state’s pension funds, he is in charge of managing the state’s cash balance, investment accounts, and rainy day fund.  “We look at the amount of cash we have on hand, we average about $1.8 billion dollars daily… we are doing very well.”

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Flowers says he calls himself an ‘activist treasurer’, as a more hands-on treasurer than his predecessors.  “I believe that an activist treasury is a good thing to have, particularly if you’re going to claim that you’re the ‘corporate capital of the United States,’ you should probably have a very activist treasury.”

You can hear more about Delaware’s financial picture and Flowers’ plans to help improve financial literacy education on this week’s edition of WHYY’s First, Friday night at 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

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