As I try to think what to write for this issue, I'm struck with one impression from this past fall sports season: disarray abounds. The Red Sox and Yankees finish far out of the baseball playoffs; the U.S. Ryder Cup team is crushed by the Europeans; the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFL and, most significantly, I am leading my pick-‘em football pool. But maybe this is just a sign of the times, when change is common and transition is the norm. Such has certainly been the case recently at APEI.
In this calendar year, we have remodeled our office, with staff working from home for two months; we hired a new reinsurance broker and substantially revised our reinsurance renewal process; and most recently we replaced our investment advisors. Although each change was accompanied by hard work, stress, and more than a little doubt, each has brought substantial rewards, and APEI is a better company for them. The remodel brought all employees under one roof in Juneau, improving communication and coordination of workers' compensation claims. Our new brokers negotiated lower rates and higher limits for property coverage, improving coverage while saving members literally hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The change in investment advisors, to Vanguard, was a recent decision of the APEI Board's Investment Committee. Due to sizable growth of the company in recent years, including our investment portfolio, APEI determined that it needed more in-depth investment services, including comprehensive portfolio allocation analysis to ensure maximum returns for minimal risk. That analysis was certainly enlightening and brought the promise of a better, more professional, approach to investing assets that are, after all, ultimately held for the benefit of our members. And Vanguard provides these services for less than APEI has paid in the past, which will translate into more savings to pass on to members.
So while change is often painful, it is inevitable, and from APEI's experience, it just might be something to celebrate. Now if I could just find a silver lining to the Red Sox' collapse.