Volunteer of the Month: August 2018

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       Kevin Ross, CFA

Kevin Ross, CFA, has been a CFA Society Chicago member since 2009 and served on several advisory groups including Education, Distinguished Speaker Series and Professional Development.

This month Kevin is being recognized for his efforts with the Professional Development Advisory Group.  Kevin has served as a mentor for the Society’s Mentorship Program since the inception of the revamped program. This summer Kevin has taken a lead role with the Mentorship Program and elevated it by researching and securing a speaker to present a 90-minute session on what it takes to establish a strong mentoring experience. This session will be available to the broader membership in late October accessible via the Society’s website.

Kevin, thank you on a job well done!

Annual Business Meeting and Networking Reception 2018

Shannon Curley, CFA, chief executive office of CFA Society Chicago, said it best during cocktails following the Annual Business Meeting, “This was by far the most engaged audience we’ve had in years with several great questions from our audience.”  Held on June 21st, the Annual Business Meeting was attended by approximately 60 members and took place at The Library, an old law-library feel conference room at the top of 190 S. LaSalle.

After a welcoming from Shannon Curley, the event started with Marie Winters, chair (2017-2018 of CFA Society Chicago, who gave an overview of the successes over the past year. To level set the scale of the Society, CFA Society Chicago continues its climb towards 5,000 members, with 4,800 members at the end of May making Chicago the sixth largest society in the world. Perhaps even more importantly, 367 members, or 7.5% of the membership base, was actively engaged on various Advisory Groups, a testament to the involvement amongst the Chicago Society members.

Over the last fiscal year ending June 30, the Society hosted over 130 events. Major highlights include the CFA Annual Dinner with over 1,000 registered attendees and 64 sponsors all actively engaged by the keynote speaker David Rubenstein, CEO and founder of the Carlyle Group after the recognition of 163 new charterholders. The Advisory Groups, or sub-committees functioning through volunteer members, also had a number of successes. The Education Advisory Group introduced a new fin-tech series with a special well-attended event discussing blockchain technologies. The Professional Development Advisory Group hosted a Starting your own RIA series and continues to grow its mentorship program.  The CFA Women’s Network hosted two events – Patricia Halper, CFA, on Factor Investing and a second event on taking control of your career.  The Social Advisory Group hosted a sold-out golf outing in Kohler, Wisconsin in partnership with the CFA Societies of Madison and Milwaukee. The Distinguished Speaker Series hosted several sold out lunches including prominent speakers such as Don Wilson, Myron Scholes, and Jeremy Grantham to name a few. Finally to wrap up the past years’ successes, the Society launched its new, mobile friendly, website used to distribute news announcements, host webinars and podcasts, and offer new ways to engage the membership base.

Tanya Williams, CFA, the secretary treasurer of CFA Society Chicago (2017-2018), shared with us the financial position of the Society over the prior fiscal year.  Overall the Society’s operating results were positive with a small operating gain primarily attributable to higher than anticipated proceeds from the Annual Dinner as a result of higher corporate sponsorship and minimal speaker fees. Alan Meder, CFA, chief risk officer at Duff and Phelps Investment Management also received an award for his dedication to the Society, which included a monetary portion of the award that he generously donated back to the Society. We then turned to Q&A where statistics surrounding female involvement in the Society was the most topical.

Currently, female membership has gone from 20% ten years ago to 12.5% today. Part of the reason of the decrease is due to the decline of women in the investment professional pipeline. With fewer women taking finance courses in their undergraduate and graduate programs, it is making it more difficult to have a more balanced gender base in the Society. To target the issue, CFA Society Chicago is actively working on making a commitment to increase female membership starting by working with the academic institutions to educate women on careers in finance. The CFA Women’s Network has also strengthened its events specifically geared towards women in the society. After Q&A, the current board introduced the new directors for the next upcoming year and recognized the outgoing leadership for all of their efforts and dedication over their prior term.

The event concluded with commentary from the incoming chair of the Society, Tom Digenan, CFA, who has served on the board for the prior two years and currently heads the US Intrinsic Value Team at UBS Asset Management. Tom shared his vision that with nearly 5,000 members and the best programs of any CFA Society in the world, it is our responsibility to carry our past successes forward and expand to an even brighter future. Tom recollected while he was studying for the CFA exam, “Make no small plans, they have no magic in them to stir men’s blood.  Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”  CFA Society Chicago, he assured us, has no small plans. Continuing to improve membership involvement, providing the best programs and engaging with industry leaders, regulators, civil, political and local academic leaders will take the Society to the next level. An actively involved Society will make its CFA members indispensable to their employers and attract the best of the best talent to our organization.

 

CFA Society Chicago Executive Committee (2018-2019):

Chair: Thomas Digenan, CFA

Vice Chair: Dan Kastholm, CFA

Secretary/Treasurer: Kristan Rowland, CFA

Immediate Past Chair: Marie Winters, CFA

CEO: Shannon Curley, CFA

 

CFA Society Chicago Directors (2018-2019):

Jenifer Aronson, CFA Doug Laskowski, CFA Dave Smith, CFA
Michelle Beck Cosmin Lucaci, CFA Mark Toledo, CFA
William Fitzpatrick, CFA Levoyd Robinson, CFA Tanya Williams, CFA
Garrett Glawe, CFA Linda Ruegsegger, CFA
Michael Holt, CFA Dhvani Shah, CFA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer of the Month: May 2018

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Richard Schiller, CFA, CPA

Thank you to all the dedicated CFA Society Chicago volunteers who give selflessly of their time and talents! This month the Communications Advisory Group is recognizing Richard Schiller, CFA, CPA.

Dick has been a member of the Society for two years and joined the Communications Advisory Group. His role as an equity research associate with Robert W. Baird has made him a great fit for the committee. Dick has been an active member of the group since he joined, volunteering to attend various Society events and contributing to the CFA Society Chicago blog. Events he has written about include the Distinguished Speaker Series luncheons featuring Donald Wilson (DRW) and Gary P. Brinson, CFA (The Brinson Foundation) along with the Society’s 31st Annual Dinner which featured David Rubenstein, founder of The Carlyle Group, as the keynote speaker.

He regularly attends advisory group meetings and has been a great source of ideas for both the blog and the new website. Thank you for all your work!

Volunteer of the Month: April 2018

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Garrett Glawe, CFA

This month’s Volunteer of the Month is Garrett Glawe, CFA, Director of Asset Owners Channel for the Central Region at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Garrett has volunteered with CFA Society Chicago for many years in several capacities, including as co-chair of the Education Advisory Group and by teaching financial literacy as a member of the Membership Engagement Advisory Group.

During his tenure as co-chair of the Education Advisory Group, Garrett was instrumental in organizing and securing sponsorship for the group’s Active vs. Passive event featuring Nobel Laureate Eugene Fama, which set a new CFA Society Chicago record for attendance with over 400 attendees (excluding the Annual Dinner). Although he is no longer a co-chair, Garrett is still an active member of the Education Advisory Group. Most recently, he assisted with its Corporate Governance event by developing the event format and securing several speakers.

Garrett also serves as a valuable resource for coaching and mentoring new volunteers and aspiring leaders within CFA Society Chicago.

Great job Garrett, keep up the good work!

Volunteer of the Month: February 2018

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This month’s Volunteer of the Month is recognized for her efforts on both the Communications and Education Seminars Advisory Groups. Rida Iqbal is a Level III Candidate in the CFA Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brooks University and is an analyst, consultant, and auditor for firms including Big 4 member Ernst & Young.

Rida is a longtime volunteer and contributor to the Education Advisory Group (EAG). She has served the advisory group by taking meeting minutes and offering assistance with several of the group’s programs. Most notably, she served as research assistant and helped with the Practitioner Demand Driven Academic Research Initiative (PDDARI). Rida also has a commitment to keeping CFA Society Chicago members informed by serving as an event reporter. She has written several articles for the CFA Society Chicago Blog.

Thank you Rida for everything that you do!

Volunteer of the Month: December 2017

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Amir Moaiery, CFA

CFA Society Chicago would like to recognize Amir Moaiery, CFA, for his contributions with the Society’s Industry Roundtables event and the Job Seekers Forum. Today, Amir Moaiery is the Professional Development Advisory Group’s Volunteer of the Month.

Amir has been a CFA Society Chicago member for more than two years and joined the advisory group in July 2017. He worked with a small group of volunteers that planned the Society’s Industry Roundtablesa member-only event where table hosts discuss their respective sectors in the investment industry. Amir has also been involved in ensuring facilitators of the Job Seekers Forum are prepared to lead discussions by updating the Job Seekers Facilitator Guide with current tips and best practices.

Thank you Amir! We’re lucky to have you as a part of our society!

 

Volunteer of the Month: November 2017

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       Erik Baaske, CFA

Erik Baaske, CFA, is 2nd Vice President, Team Lead HFS Poseidon FX at Northern Trust. Erik joined the Membership Engagement Advisory Group in 2016. Shortly after joining the group, Erik presented an idea of expanding its outreach initiatives by conducting information sessions for summer interns at local financial institutions. He then planned and coordinated a session at Northern Trust this past summer where current CFA Society Chicago Chairman, Marie Winters, CFA, and CEO, Shannon Curley, CFA, spoke to 30 interns.

Erik is also a part of a small group that make calls to new members that join the Society. He places calls to welcome new members, shares information about CFA Society Chicago events, the use of function tickets and shares the benefits of serving on an advisory group. Additionally, Erik served as a panelist for the July 13, 2017 CFA Exam and Candidate Information Session.

CFA Society Chicago is grateful to volunteers like Erik Baaske for promoting the charter and making it possible to serve our members with the highest quality programming.

Why do Ethics and Standards Matter?

Adding “CFA” next to your name is more than a sign that you passed three rigorous exams. It’s also a sign of an ongoing commitment to high standards and ethics – a benchmark for investment professionals around the globe, regardless of job title, cultural differences, or local laws.

But when we speak of the importance of “ethics and standards” as a whole, we sometimes gloss over what each half of that equation really encompasses – and, more importantly, why each is important for our profession.

Ethics

Ethics are the basic principles that guide how we choose to act. They are how we can talk about “right” vs. “wrong” so that we can choose “right” and point out “wrong” when we see it.

If a doctor fails to “Do No Harm,” he loses his medical license; in a sense, an unethical doctor isn’t a doctor at all.

In the same way, CFA charterholders found to be in violation of our ethical code are sanctioned and revoke their right to use the CFA designation. It’s hard to argue with the ethical guidelines that CFA Institute has laid out for our profession:

  • Place the integrity of the profession and the interests of clients above your own interests
  • Act with integrity, competence, and respect
  • Maintain and develop your professional competence

We all know the shadow that bad actors can cast on our industry, so having a hard line differentiating them from real professionals is important for maintaining trust in our profession.

Standards

If ethics are the values behind right vs. wrong, standards are how we define specifically what ethical professional conduct looks like. They’re a more concrete guide for our industry and the current moment in time.

While not universal for everyone in the investment industry, CFA Institute believes standards should center on transparency and putting the investor first. After all, that’s what finance is for: the benefit of clients, and the businesses and communities they invest in.

In the Code and Standards, CFA Institute defines duties that professionals have to the investment profession, capital markets, clients, and employers. There are also specific standards about diligent investment analysis, disclosing conflicts of interest, adhering to duties of loyalty, prudence and care, and addressing the suitability of investments and confidentiality.

It is important to lead by example. But our own actions won’t change the public’s perception. Guided by our strong ethical foundation, we can call for higher standards across our industry. It’s why we at CFA Society Chicago will offer free ethics training to Chicago-area pension plans, and it’s why CFA Institute calls for all who call themselves “advisers” to be held to a true fiduciary standard.

As charterholders, it’s our duty – each and every day, in every interaction – to take the high road. In today’s world of mistrust in our industry and salesmen masquerading as fiduciary advisors, adding the letters CFA after your name are more valuable than ever.

CFA Society Chicago Chairman’s Letter to Membership

Marie C. Winters, CFA

I am proud to report that thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, sponsors, and staff, CFA Society Chicago had a very successful FY2017. During the year, we hosted over 150 events to advance educational knowledge, professional excellence, and high ethical standards, and also to enhance the greater good of our community. We also finished FY2017 in a solid financial position with reserves of approximately $2.1 million, up 11% from the prior fiscal year end.

Highlights of our key accomplishments in FY2017 include the following:

Excellence in Education & Ethics

Our education programming spanned a variety of large and small events. Our popular monthly Distinguished Speakers Series drew top leaders, including Liz Ann Sonders, Charles Evans, Richard Driehaus, and Gary Brinson, CFA. Taking advantage of our new office location, we launched the Vault Series where we invited experts to speak on niche topics, including market signals for capital flows. At our 2016 Annual Dinner featuring keynote speaker Cliff Asness, we celebrated over 1,000 registrants for the second time. Investing in Innovation and Investing for the Long-Term consisted of panel presentations that also drew a large number of attendees.

We culminated our year with our largest Society event outside of the Annual Dinner: Active vs. Passive, featuring a discussion between Nobel Laureate, Dr. Eugene F. Fama and Dr. Robert Litterman. Over 400 people attended the event in Chicago and more than 200 additional attendees registered for the live webcast. Subsequently, over 2,000 individuals have watched the archived webcast, showcasing the value your Society brings to CFA charterholders globally.

Career Advancement for Members

Two years ago we committed to invest in our members’ careers. Our member-only program offerings have expanded greatly, focusing on development of soft skills and opportunities to explore alternate career paths at our Annual Career Fair and the Industry Roundtables event. During FY2017, we launched a new entrepreneurial series, Starting an RIA Firm. This has proved to be a big success with our members and we will continue to build on this series in the current fiscal year. Finally, we provided our members frequent occasions to expand their professional networks across our educational, professional development, and social events.

Giving Back to Our Community

The Society launched a financial literacy initiative that reached over 900 high school students in under-privileged neighborhoods by partnering with the Economic Awareness Council (EAC). The program experienced a strong start, attracting more than twice as many volunteers as we had targeted. Interest among our members in this program continues to grow and has already nearly doubled from last year’s volunteers.

Upcoming CFA Society Chicago Events
The Society is proud to announce these upcoming events:
  • September 26 : Education Seminars is hosting Water’s Impact On Investing;
  • September 27: Networking with Leadership;
  • October 3: Our next Distinguished Speaker is Ronan Ryan , President of IEX Group;
  • October 4: Starting Your Own RIA (Part 2): Tips for Marketing and Business Development; and
  • November 1: Our 31st Annual Dinner featuring Keynote David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Carlyle Group is at the Hyatt Regency.

Please visit our website at www.cfachicago.org to register for these events.

Looking Ahead to Fiscal Year 2018

Recently, I and the rest of the Executive Committee had the pleasure of meeting with several leaders of CFA Institute to further plans for the current fiscal year. CFA Institute is pleased with the Society’s efforts and will continue to provide solid support for us to pursue a variety of initiatives for education, branding, and technology enhancements, including a new website in the near future. We came away feeling that clearly, CFA Society Chicago is considered a leader among societies globally – we are well-recognized for our leadership and innovative thinking in education and ethics initiatives.

Over the coming year, you can expect to see efforts focused on preparing our members for the future. Many dynamic shifts are impacting our industry, including evolving investor preferences, technological change, and financial regulations, to name a few. These secular trends make it imperative that we have greater professional dexterity in meeting our clients’ expectations as well as in managing our careers. Our volunteers will continue to play a key role in helping all of us prepare for the future and thrive.

I am truly honored and excited to serve as chairman of the oldest and sixth largest CFA Society in the world. With over 4,700 members, CFA Society Chicago is well-positioned given our abundant resources – talented volunteers, dedicated staff, and financial position.

Very best,
Marie C. Winters, CFA
Chairman, CFA Society Chicago

Four Tips to Launch a Successful Finance Career

If you’re just beginning your career in finance, you might feel your career path is defined; head down, work hard, and eventually the real career choices will present themselves down the road. This is of course true to an extent – the finance industry certainly demands earning your stripes – but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin opening up doors during those early years.

You may already be studying for the CFA exams, which is an important milestone in the career of most investment professional’s careers. As you navigate the roughly four years that it takes to complete the three levels of the CFA Program, it’s important to do whatever you can to make these as meaningful as possible.

These tips should help you do just that:

Read, and read ravenously.

Read everything in our field that you can get your hands on (including and beyond the CFA curriculum). Try to read broadly across topics and disciplines; for example, if you’re in equities, take time to learn about credit or commodities to make yourself more well-rounded. Ask people you meet what they read and what they enjoyed learning.

An incredible array of opportunities exist in finance, and the more areas and disciplines you know the more opportunities you’ll have. The most successful people spend a good portion of their day devouring information, asking questions and listening.

Avoid networking at your own peril. (And put the phone away).

Not everyone is an extrovert, and that’s okay. Everyone, though, can benefit from the opportunities made through networking, whether for friendship, commerce or career.

You’ve been reading (you have been reading, right?), so you have strong points of view and pointed questions to ask. Put the phone away, be confident and ask smart questions. Most folks love the opportunity to explain what they do, and they will see you as someone willing to take initiative if you initiate a good conversation.

Don’t procrastinate getting an advanced credential.

I think you need at least one advanced credential (if not two) to compete in today’s job market. Both a CFA charter and MBA are highly useful for financial professionals, so avoid a long, protracted process on deciding which one to get. The earlier you begin the process, the higher the lifetime dividend.

In my case, I immediately plunged into the CFA curriculum just a year into my career, and that gave me a big boost. It helped me interview for jobs that I would never have the opportunity to land otherwise. I strongly believe having a CFA charter in your 20s or early 30s will offer more career optionality down the line.

Listen to yourself.

In those first few years, keep a keen eye out for moments where you feel in the flow, or when you are the happiest during your job. Ask yourself what were you doing during those moments and what about that project or job aspect you really liked. How can you structure your future career to include more of those types of situations?

I’d also suggest taking time to reflect on what you want out of a career. While having money and a challenging, important job is great, many folks find that they are happier with more of a work-life balance, and understanding how much of each aspect you need to make yourself happy is key.

So, hit those books! And remember to keep these tips in mind – when that door does open for you, you’ll be poised to take full advantage of the opportunity.