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CFA Society Chicago held its Annual Business Meeting via Zoom on August 12, 2020. The meeting was open to all CFA Society Chicago members and was well attended.

Chris Vincent, CFA, the Society’s CEO, provided welcoming remarks followed by Dan Kastholm, CFA, chair of the Society sharing highlights and accomplishments from the past year. Notable items included:

  • Significant progress on all strategic initiatives despite well-known challenges.
  • While in-person gatherings came to an abrupt halt in March, the Society quickly pivoted to virtual delivery and hosted over 80 events.
  • Programming is made possible by the Distinguished Speaker Series Advisory Group, the Professional Development Advisory Group, the Education Seminars Advisory Group, the CFA Women’s Network, the Social Advisory Group, as well as the Membership Engagement Advisory Group which leads the local CFA Institute Research Challenge.
  • The Society’s flagship Annual Dinner drew north of 1,000 attendees and honored 136 new CFA charterholders. Keynote speaker Bill Browder, founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and author of Red Notice, was well received as demonstrated by a standing ovation.
  • The Board established and approved a three-year rolling Strategic Plan, which will be distributed soon.
  • Kastholm concluded by thanking the Board, Society staff and 342 volunteers all of which contribute to the success of the Society.

Garrett Glawe, CFA, secretary and treasurer of the Society, provided a review of CFA Society Chicago’s financial position over the prior fiscal year (10 months as of 6/30/20 due to changing the fiscal year end to August in order to align with the CFA Institute). Highlights included:

  • Net operating profit came in at $50K versus annual budget of $105K.
  • Expenses were down given the switch from in-person to virtual events and not charging for them.
  • Society assets are invested in US/International Equities and Bonds in accordance with the Investment Policy Statement.
  • Long-term reserve account was rebalanced on March 26 and currently stands at $1.76 million. Combined with the short-term account of $110K, total reserves are strong at $1.87 million.
  • Reserve ratio (long-term reserve / average monthly expenses (excludes Annual Dinner which is self funding and revenue neutral) at June 30 was 13.9 months ($1.87 million / $135K).
  • The Society remains in a strong financial position and is adjusting accordingly for the COVID situation.

Presenters then took questions from meeting attendees, which included the following:

Q: Will you be charging for future virtual events?

A: We have not been charging but some societies have been charging. Vincent noted that he is in frequent communication with our society peer group, which has dialogued as to, whether a nominal charge would be appropriate. The majority is in favor of free content but it’s continually evaluated. He also monitors what other large organizations like the Economic Club of Chicago and Executive Club of Chicago are doing.

Q: What is the recommended reserve amount?

A: It ranges from 16-18 months. CFA Institute doesn’t want it to run over 20 months, so we’re in a comfortable position and in line with other societies our size.

Q: What has the renewal rate of membership been? And what is the strategic plan?

A: Vincent indicated it’s a fluid number but we’re running above other XL societies and the global renewal rate. Glawe shared that we are aligning with the CFA Institute strategic plan along with 13 other Midwest societies.

Q: How does our financial health compare with other XL societies during pandemic?

A: Vincent stated that we are median to conservative so compare favorable. Kastholm also mentioned operational funding that comes form the Institute.  Their reserves are quite healthy but the delay in exam testing has been a big hit their revenue stream.

Q: Are thoughts being given to the Annual Dinner?

A: There will be no dinner this year but another event is being planned in lieu of that and details will be forthcoming shortly.

Q: What’s been most successful virtual event?

A: We’ve had several hundred at a couple of events and the Fed event in particular, like always, drew a large group. Glawe noted that the Society staff is working to improve reporting capabilities in this regard. Event reviews are good with an average rating 4.2-.3 for virtual and in-person events.

Q:  Are the financial statements reviewed and audited?

A: Yes, we have an Audit Committee and third party outside audit firm.

Q: What percent of operational funding comes from the CFA Institute?

A: There are different types of funding and it fluctuates year-by-year. Glawe confirmed that the Institute funded 20% ($240k of $1.21 million) in the latest fiscal year.

At this time, for those who hadn’t already done so, voting was conducted regarding Governance items as well as Officers and Directors.

With the new Board and Directors in place (see below), Kastholm revisited the critical nature of volunteers to the Society and extended his appreciation for the talent they bring and the support they provided during his tenure. He encouraged all members to stay connected and involved.

Kastholm then turned the meeting over to incoming Chair Kristan Rowland, CFA, who shared her thoughts on the future of the Society.

Rowland noted that the coming year is exciting in that the Society will celebrate its 95th anniversary! Chicago is the oldest investment analysts society in America and 6th largest under CFA Institute. In her role, Rowland intends to deliver and build upon our three strategic pillars:

Deliver Member Value

  • Continue building out and accelerate digital delivery
  • Provide strategic programming presented as “stories”

Develop Future Professionals

  • Engage local employers and utilize local members for content

Build Market Integrity

  • Collaborate with the Economic Awareness Council and Greenwood Project

The event concluded at this time. CFA Society Chicago would like to thank all of its board members, advisory group co-chairs and volunteers as the Society would not be where it is today without the time and effort these individuals dedicate to the Society.

New one-year term ending August 31:
Chair: Kristan Rowland, CFA – William Blair (2021)
Vice Chair: Garrett Glawe, CFA – S&P Dow Jones Indices (2021)
Secretary/Treasurer: William Fitzpatrick, CFA – Logan Capital (2021)

New three-year terms ending August 31, 2023
Class A: Rich Excell, CFA – University of Illinois, Gies College of Business
Class A: Jeremy Heer, CFA – University of Chicago Office of Investments
Class A: Katharine Wyatt, CFA – Loyola University

New two-year terms ending August 31, 2022
Class C:        Catherine Drake, CFA – PPM America
(Completing remaining two year term of Alan Papier, CFA)

New one-year term ending August 31, 2021
Class E: William Harding, CFA – Jackson National Asset Management
Class E: Zach Hillard, CFA – Busey Wealth Management
Class E: Brady O’Connell, CFA – Callan Associates
Class E: James Schroeder – DHR International
Class D: Daniel Kastholm, CFA, Immediate Past Chair – Fitch Ratings

Directors continuing in their respective terms ending August 31:
Class B:        Michael Holt, CFA – Morningstar (2021)
Class B:        Dhvani Shah, CFA – Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (2021)
Class B:        David Smith, CFA – Marquette Associates (2021)
Class C:        Michael Miranda, CFA – BMO Family Office (2022)
Class C:        Sunitha Thomas, CFA – Northern Trust (2022)

President & Chief Executive Officer:
Christopher T. Vincent, CFA