Ohio's general revenue fund earned a record $400.2 million in interest for the 2001 fiscal year. State Treasurer Joe Deters deserves credit for implementing a new investment policy that brought in more money last year than in any other year in the state's history. Considering the declining economy, Deters accomplishment is nothing short of amazing.
When Deters ran for the treasurer's position, he promised to find ways to earn more money for Ohio with investments that were profitable, yet virtually free of risk. He kept his word. In announcing the record earnings he said, "These results are proof that an outstanding return can be generated while adhering to safe and conservative investing principles."
And it's not just the state treasury that has seen growth. The State Treasury Asset Reserve program, popularly known as STAR Ohio, has increased its assets by $2 billion. The program allows all Ohio governmental subdivisions -- like cities, counties and school districts -- to deposit their funds for investment purposes into a public investment pool. STAR Ohio offers a higher yield than conventional investment vehicles because of the increased earning power of a sizable pool, and the soundness and security of the fund has earned it Standard & amp; Poor's highest rating -- AAAm.
Shooting STAR: Government entities that have attempted their own investment programs, particularly with elected or appointed treasurers who usually lack the high level of expertise needed to secure high yields in a risk-averse environment, should give serious thought to moving investments to STAR Ohio. Deters serves as STAR Ohio's investment advisor and administrator.
BidOhio, the nation's first online, competitive auction of interim treasury investment funds, is a third Deters initiative to earn money for Ohio and national acclaim. Since the program began, it has earned an additional $5 million for the people of Ohio and now serves as a model for three other states and one county.
Government treasurers are rarely thought of as high-powered successful executives, despite their dealing with billions of dollars annually. If others follow Deters' innovative lead, they may get the approbation they richly deserve.