By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Investment Committee gave a report to Tribal Council on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in which they detailed their overall account growth was over 5 percent for the last quarter. The report included market value and other figures on the Tribe’s Endowment 1, Endowment 2, and Debt Service Sinking Funds.
Polly Castorena, EBCI Investment Committee chairperson, commented, “Things are looking good and continue to look good.”
According to the report distributed to Council and made available to the One Feather, “Major U.S. equity indices hit all-time highs in 2019, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 had one of its strongest decades going back a century. The index posted an annualized 13.6 percent return for the decade, a stark contrast to the prior decade when the index was down 0.1 percent. This was despite gloomier prospects 12 months ago including a weakening global economy; stocks, bonds, and commodities all falling sharply in 2018; and Fed policy on interest rates further compounding a downturn.”
The report detailed the three accounts for the period Sept. 30, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019 as follows:
* Endowment 1
– Market value at Sept. 30: $207,829,627.61
– Market value at Dec. 31: $219,619,389.33
– Percentage change in market value: 5.69 percent
* Endowment 2
– Market value at Sept. 30: $127,939,901.89
– Market value at Dec. 31: $134,713,177.73
– Percentage change in market value: 5.31 percent
* Debt Service Sinking Fund
– Market value at Sept. 30: $200,911,089.67
– Market value at Dec. 31: $198,990,269.61
– Percentage change in market value: 5.40 percent
* Total of the three accounts
– Market value at Sept. 30: $536,680,619.17
– Market value at Dec. 31: $553,322,836.67
– Percentage change in market value: 5.47 percent
The report states that for the entire year of 2019, the funds increased by a total of $89,499,457.43 for a growth of 19.11 percent.
The Endowment 1 fund showed growth in 10 of the 12 months last year with May (-3.36 percent) and August (-1.54 percent) being the only months showing a decline. January 2019 was the most robust month showing an increase of $13,073,245.60 (6.80 percent), and May was the least showing a loss of $7,319,803.01 (-3.36 percent).
The Endowment 2 fund also showed growth in 10 of the 12 months in 2019. Again, losses were recorded in May (-3.21 percent) and August (-1.42 percent). January 2019 was again the most robust month with an increase of $7,053,560.27 (6.35 percent), and May showed a loss of $9,839,491.22 (-3.21 percent).
The Debt Service Sinking Fund mirrored the other two with growth in 10 of the 12 months with losses in May (-3.37 percent) and August (-1.53 percent). January 2019 topped this fund as well with growth of $12,366,682.51 (6.48 percent), and May showed a loss of $5,397,447.56 (-3.37 percent).
The Committee went into closed session to discuss the Minor’s Fund.
Prior to going into the closed session, Castorena asked Council to schedule a work session in April to discuss the possible implementation of a school curriculum involving investment strategies for young EBCI tribal members.
“We still have a huge education piece,” she said. “We have some hurdles. First off, not everyone lives in Cherokee or in the surrounding counties.”
She said possible ideas have been formulated by Committee members including the possibility of investment portfolios being made available to tribal members when they turn 18-, 21-, and 25-years-old to help them invest their Minor’s Fund Distributions strategically.
The One Feather will make the date and time of this upcoming work session public when it is made available.