(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – State Treasurer Kate Marshall today announced the appointees to the board of the Nevada Capital Investment Corporation (NCIC), a new group charged with overseeing the investment of school funds to improve returns while promoting economic development statewide.
Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Jim DeVolld, former president and CEO of the First Independent Bank of Nevada; Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford appointed Jerrie Merritt, senior vice president of the Bank of Nevada; Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness appointed Chris Howard, Northstar Investors principal and the director of entrepreneurial initiative at the University of Nevada, Reno; Assembly Speaker John Oceguera appointed David Goldwater of David Goldwater Consulting; Assembly Minority Leader Pete Goicoechea appointed James York, president and CEO of Valley Bank of Nevada; and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich appointed Robert Lind, managing director for Berkshire Bridge Capital LLC.
Marshall will serve as the chairwoman of the nonprofit board, which will meet for the first time Tuesday. The board was created as the result of the passage of Senate Bill 75 during the 2011 legislative session.
“We are extremely excited about beginning Nevada’s first ever private equity investment fund with such an esteemed group of appointees at the helm,” Marshall said. “We will set as aggressive a timeline as possible so the state can begin to see the benefits of Senate Bill 75 for our schools and for economic development moving forward in Nevada.”
The primary goal of the board will be to increase the rate of return on the money in the state’s Permanent School Fund. But it will also work to promote job creation and economic development by investing the money in business development. The new law allows the board to invest up to $50 million from the trust fund in the economic development efforts.
The Permanent School Fund was previously invested only in U.S. government securities that generated a return of less than 1 percent. The new law allows the investment of non-tax dollars in the fund in new businesses in Nevada, in existing businesses that are expanding, or in businesses which agree to relocate to this state.
In hearings on the bill sought by Marshall’s office, it was noted that 11 other states already had the authority to invest their funds in more diverse ways.
The Permanent School Fund is a trust fund made up of federal funds provided to the state for decades from such sources as the sale of federal lands and court fees. It is a trust fund worth about $300 million that can’t be spent, only invested.
The new board is charged with a variety of responsibilities, including contracting with a private industry fund manager who will be responsible for the development of an investment plan for approval by the board, selection of private equity firms that will invest in Nevada businesses, for providing mentoring and networking opportunities for Nevada entrepreneurs, and for developing a collaborative partnership between Nevada System of Higher Education institutions, investors, and private industry.
Marshall said Nevada is following the lead of most western states in allowing for a more diverse approach in vesting money from the school fund.
“Evidence shows that these balanced, diversified portfolios are realizing greater returns, which in Nevada’s case will ultimately result in more money for Nevada K-12 schools,” she said. “Further, by establishing a first of its kind fund in Nevada’s history, we’ve created a mechanism for providing private equity investments in Nevada that will help stimulate economic growth and employment, without risking tax dollars.”