Cold Case

Alaska Permanent Fund’s new CIO Jeffrey Scott faces harsh realities.


Jeffrey Scott faces a harsh environment — and not only because winter comes early to Juneau. On November 17 the former private investor and manager of Microsoft’s $60 billion absolute-return portfolio became CIO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. Residents of the 49th state rely on the fund for the annual dividends it pays, this year a record $2,069 per person. But the market downdraft may bite into that bounty. In the 12 months ended October 31, the fund spilled 26 percent of its value, dropping to $29.7 billion. “The big challenge for the new CIO will be to keep the trustees comfortable with the move into alternatives,” says Scott’s predecessor, Richard Shafer, who became CIO of the New Hampshire Retirement System in September. Scott declined an interview request. In June the fund boosted its allocation to private equity from 4 percent to 6 percent and lifted its exposure to infrastructure from 2 percent to 3 percent. It will consider raising private equity to 8 percent and infrastructure as high as 5 percent, says Michael Burns, the Permanent Fund’s executive director.