Despite the pummeling that Wall Street gave to Alaska's Permanent Fund this year, qualified residents can look forward to receiving a dividend check of more than $1,300 this fall.
The fund, Alaska's $32 billion oil wealth savings account, lost a staggering $2.5 billion during its fiscal year that ended in June because its stock market holdings plunged. That's the fund's first-ever actual loss.
Yet for a simple reason that goes back nearly three decades to the founding of the dividend program, the effect of those losses on the dividend payments will be muted.
The dividend is based on the average fund profits during the previous five years. Last year's bad performance was preceded by several years of historic gains, according to Laura Achee, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., the state agency that oversees the investments.
"What you have is an average of a few incredibly good years with an incredibly bad year," she said. The fund has been posting profits again in the current fiscal year.
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