Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., Juneau, will continue to utilize J.P. Morgan Asset Management as an external manager despite some calls to reexamine its relationship in light of its parent company's recent announcement it will not finance efforts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The $67 billion sovereign wealth fund, created in 1976 and funded by oil and gas royalty payments, said in a Feb. 28 news release that "because our mandate is to prudently invest fund assets to generate returns that will benefit all generations of Alaskans, APFC will continue to partner with firms, like J.P. Morgan, to achieve that mission."
"APFC looks forward to having a productive dialogue with all of our partners and peers that ultimately benefits not just Alaskans but all of us who rely on the Arctic," the news release said.
J.P. Morgan Chase announced Feb. 25 that as part of the expansion of its commitment to a low-carbon economy, including a $200 billion commitment to advance the objectives of United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, it would not provide "project financing or other forms of asset-specific financing where the proceeds will be used for new oil and gas development in the Arctic," a news release said.
As of Dec. 31, J.P. Morgan Asset Management ran $493 million in active international large-cap equities and $452 million in active emerging markets equities for the sovereign wealth fund.
Following J.P. Morgan's announcement, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said in a Feb. 25 Tweet, "If private companies choose not to invest in Alaska due to the agendas of outside special interest groups, then Alaska has a right to not invest money with groups like (J.P. Morgan)."
Officials in Mr. Dunleavy's office could not be immediately reached for further comment.
A group of more than 100 institutional investors representing over $2.5 trillion in assets had called on oil and gas companies and banks in a May 2018 letter to refrain from initiating developments in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
"We are gravely concerned about the climate, financial and reputational risks associated with pursuing a speculative fossil-fuel source that will likely become uneconomical as the world rapidly shifts toward clean energy sources," investors wrote in letters sent to more than 100 oil and gas companies and banks at the time.
"Destroying this wilderness area would also have devastating human and ecological impacts," particularly for the Gwich'in people, an Alaska Native tribe that has occupied the region for thousands of years, the investors wrote.