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Statement by CFO Sink on Wall Street Financial Crisis

9/15/2008

CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Jerri Franz
(850) 413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE—Millions of Floridians today awoke to news of increased volatility among several global financial institutions.  Today’s tumultuous events continue the global financial turmoil witnessed during the last 18 months, and provide clear evidence that the federal government needs to provide increased oversight of large financial institutions to better protect consumers.
 
The Florida Treasury held $139.5 million par value in Lehman Brothers Holding, Inc., bonds as of Friday, September 12, 2008.  Of this amount, $104.1 million was senior debt and $35.4 million was subordinated debt.  The total exposure represents less than 0.6 percent of Treasury investments, which total $24 billion.  The Treasury is proceeding with an orderly liquidation of the subordinated debt this month. 
 
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today offered the following comments on the growing Wall Street financial crisis:
 
“As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, my highest priority during the last 20 months has been working to increase safeguards over Floridians’ tax dollars.  Under my direction, the Treasury has tightened its investment decisions and limited exposure to any one individual corporation.  While our nation is experiencing significant financial disorder, investment firms can and do fail from time to time, and investors must position portfolios to weather financial storms.  We have positioned Florida’s Treasury to meet the cash needs of investors and balance the obligations of the state.
 
“Finally, as one of three Trustees for the State Board of Administration (SBA), I have asked General Milligan, the Interim Executive Director of the SBA, to provide analysis during Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting of any potential impact the financial markets may have on our retirees’ pension fund and other SBA-managed funds.”
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink  oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.