In this installment of our 30th anniversary interviews, Chad Childs, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Aquila Investment Management LLC (sponsor of the Aquila Group of Funds), talks about opportunity, vision, and why it’s better to be local.
How did you begin at Aquila?
It was the fall of 1987. I’d gotten my MBA and was job hunting. My family knew the Herrmanns, so I contacted Lacy just to network, hoping he would pass my resume to some of his Wall Street contacts. Instead, Lacy asked me to come to New York to see him. We scheduled our meeting for Monday, October 19, 1987. Yes, Black Monday. Suffice to say, I didn’t meet with Lacy that day or the next, as all heck broke loose. We met later that week. Aquila was growing–it had launched the Colorado and Kentucky municipal bonds funds the previous May and Lacy needed help running a couple of money market funds. He said let’s give it a year and evaluate. I’ve been here ever since. Read more “A Hands-On COO”
The ever-illuminating (and often entertaining) Joe Mysak knows some things about the municipal bond market. Mr. Mysak is Municipal Market editor for Bloomberg, and author of the Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds: A Reference Guide to Market Events, Structures, Dynamics, and Investment Knowledge, and has spent 33 years observing and writing about the municipal bond market. He was recently inspired to compile some of his observations in an article titled The Muni Meltdown that Wasn’t, published as a Bloomberg Brief in November 2014. Read more “Observations & Lessons from Joe Mysak and the Muni Meltdown that Wasn’t”
After several years of taking a conservative approach to new bond issuance, 14 Colorado school districts requested voter approval for a collective $1.45 billion in school bonds last month. Roughly half, just over $710 million, passed on Election Day.
The Colorado School Finance Project released this list shortly after the election. Boulder Valley School District’s hefty request of $576.4 million gained approval, and is the largest bond measure to pass in Colorado’s history. The district plans to take advantage of current low interest rates to fund the addition of new schools, upgrade facilities, and improve security, technology and educational tools. Read more “Colorado School Bonds Receive Mixed Approvals”
Mutual fund boards are the champions of shareholders. But boards and their trustees are still not well understood by investors or their financial advisors. We spoke with three longstanding trustees of the Aquila Group of Funds—John C. Lucking, Thomas A. Christopher, and James A. Gardner—during the September, 2014 quarterly board meetings to learn more about what they do.
Tom Christopher and James Gardner
What do mutual fund board trustees do—and why should we care?
TC: We oversee the management and operations of each Aquila fund on behalf of shareholders. We’re the shareholders’ watchdogs. Aquila Group of Funds subcontracts a variety of services—from fund accounting to transfer agency services and, in some cases, to investment sub-advisers (including portfolio managers). As trustees, our job is to review and oversee the performance of those service providers, to verify that agreements with them represent an arm’s-length deal, that they are fair, and competitive. Read more “Trustees: The Shareholders’ Watchdogs”
Your State Requires some Demonstration that You’ve been in Contact with Us
“Escheatment “, as described on the SEC web site, is the process by which a state becomes the owner of an account held by a financial institution that is considered to be abandoned or unclaimed under circumstances that may include a period of inactivity. Generally, activity may be demonstrated by contact with the financial institution holding the account, and in some states, is not demonstrated solely by the existence of an automated investment program.
On a regular basis, to establish contact and maintain the active status of your account, please:
We believe that one of the benefits of having a portfolio manager and analyst located in the market in which Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon invests, is the opportunity this provides to closely follow public policy developments and legislation, in addition to the financial condition of municipal bond issuers.
Developments related to the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) provide an example. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature enacted PERS reforms that reduced the cost-of-living adjustment for all retirees, and eliminated tax remedy payments for beneficiaries who do not live in Oregon and are therefore not subject to Oregon state income tax. These provisions will be considered by the Oregon Supreme Court early in 2015. While it is possible that the Court could reverse the PERS reforms, we currently view that as the less likely outcome. Read more “PERS Reforms to be Considered by the Oregon Supreme Court”
The IRS has announced that “beginning as early as January 1, 2015, you can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs you own”.
There are some terms to be familiar with here:
- Rollover – in the context used here, this means that you have “constructive receipt” of assets from a retirement plan – i.e. they come into your possession. You then have 60 days to complete a rollover into your IRA account.
- Trustee-to-trustee transfer – assets from your retirement plan account are sent directly from the current trustee for your plan to the trustee for your IRA account, without coming into your possession. Read more “Moving Retirement Plan Assets in 2015? Exercise Caution”
Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah invites you to your Fund’s meeting of shareholders.
The 2014 Annual Shareholder Meeting will be held in Salt Lake City, UT on Tuesday, October 28 at 8:30 a.m. at the Little America Hotel, Ballroom C, located at 500 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT. A buffet breakfast will be served prior to the meeting.
There will also be a Shareholder Outreach Meeting in St. George, UT on Wednesday, October 29 at 2:00 p.m. at the Dixie Center, Entrada Room, located at 1835 Convention Center Drive, St. George, UT. Light refreshments will be served prior to the meeting.
During the meeting, you will be able to visit with Fund executives, trustees, the portfolio manager, and hear Utah State Senator Lyle Hillyard speak about the Utah economy.
The prospectus is available at the meeting, from your financial advisor, and when you call 800-437-1020, and it is available on this web site. Before investing in the Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus.
Bloomberg.com quotes Todd Curtis as portfolio manager of the Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona in the 10/24/14 article “Mesa Prompts Bond Backlash as Debt Doubles Over 7 Years.”
“The city has a reasonable amount of debt considering its developing suburban fringes and aging downtown neighborhoods, said Todd Curtis, who manages the $274 million Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona from Phoenix.”