Nerves of steel saved Clarence Valley Council $1.2m
AT THE worst of the global financial crisis there were many shaky hands in the investment world but staff at Clarence Valley Council showed "nerves of steel" to score $1.2 million.
Councillor Jim Simmons praised the staff's efforts at a council meeting in Maclean on October 15.
In particular he highlighted the work of the council's corporate director, Ashley Lindsay.
But Mr Lindsay was having none of it.
"No we were just guided by what our investment advisors told us and that's what we pay them for," he said.
"In September and October 2008 we had the option of retrieving our money out of the fund and potentially realising a capital loss."
This was because the Blackrock fund was being wound up, left unable to trade as the financial world broke down.
And the only other option the staff had if they wished to avoid losing a chunk of ratepayers' cash was placing the $12.9 million of shares in a care and maintenance fund. They have since been cashed out at a profit.
This meant painstakingly looking at each of the investments left in the fund.
Mr Lindsay said these were mostly bonds, mortgage-backed securities and term deposits.
And the difficulty was mortgage-backed securities had caused the GFC.
"I guess the underlying securities were all fairly sound, they were bank-graded quality investments and while there was some risk of failure it was limited," Mr Lindsay said.
Since 2008 the council has slowly cashed out of the Blackrock fund and at the most recent council meeting Mr Lindsay was able to tell the chamber the final $3.1 million investment would yield $4.3 million.