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Saturday, April 4, 2015
Trustee: OHA Drains $20M from Trust Since December
By Selected News Articles @ 11:10 PM :: 3885 Views :: OHA

Smart decisions start with research and knowledge

by OHA Trustee Lei Ahu Isa April, 2015 Ka Wai Ola (excerpt)

..."Smart decisions start with research and knowledge" is a quote that I take to heart as an elected Trustee of our Native Hawaiian Trust Fund.

The following is an excerpt from one of OHA's Meetings:

Subject: Preliminary Trust Fund Value

Trust Fund Flash Report

  • As of 12/15/14, OHA's Trust Fund value is approximately $356.1M.  This is below the market at the beginning of the calendar year.
  • Year to date OHA has withdrawn a total of $20.5M from the Trust Fund.
  • After adding back YTD withdrawals, the Trust Fund has gained approximately $11.6M year to date.
  • What will 12/15/15 hold for OHA's Trust Fund?

Attending the Certified Financial Analysts" Annual Economic Forecast Dinner (Mahalo to OHAs CFA David Okamoto) at the Hawaii Convention Center March 5 brought this even closer to home for me.  The featured speaker that held the most credibility for me was Mr. John Williams, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. His prediction 'that the Federal Reserve sees interest rate hikes on the horizon, and the likely strengthening of the dollar will see a risk of a probable near-term 5-9 percent dip in the markets.  "Regardless of whether the Federal government hikes the interest rates in June or September, it's coming and it's not very far away," said-a senior market analyst for Goldman Sachs. OHA has funds invested in Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, plus a lot of other funds.

What does this have to do With OHA you might ask?

EVERYTHING! Our Native Hawaiian Trust fund is tied to the markets,  US and Globally.

A strong U.S. dollar dropped the Euro to a 12-year low-of $1.07 and lowered the Yen to 121. A few years ago the yen was 77 to a $1.00...today it is 121 and climbing. Sure, a strong dollar sounds good, but it hurts us in two ways. Our foreign competitors' goods they sell here become much cheaper for us to buy.  Their cheap currencies make their products less expensive.  Our sales shrink abroad when converted from Euros and other weaker currencies into dollars.  This includes our local Hawaiian products we sell abroad as well.

Obviously, OHA can no longer afford to keep spending generously with no accountability. The rising cost of living in Hawai'i is squeezing all taxpayers, public employees, public employee retirees and Native Hawaiians included. However, it appears that only a handful of Trustees are willing to initiate reforms to curb OHA's rising expenditures.  If certain reforms are not adopted, Native Hawaiians can look forward to a diminished trust fund....

read ... Smart decisions start with research and knowledge

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