Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust Turns 35


This February, Aquila Group of Funds celebrated the 35th Anniversary of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, the company’s flagship municipal bond fund. Aquila’s founder, the late Lacy Herrmann, was one of the earliest creators of single-state, tax-free municipal bond funds. He recognized the need for double tax-free income in states with high income tax rates, and brought a new perspective to the asset class with a focus on local involvement.

In 1985 Mr. Herrmann led Aquila in partnering with Hawaiian Trust Company (acquired by the current Trust Advisor, Bank of Hawaii) to secure, and hire a local Portfolio Management team to oversee the Trust’s portfolio of investments given their deep knowledge of Hawaii municipal issuers and close proximity to the projects which shareholders’ money would finance. He also carefully selected a Board of Trustees to govern the Trust which included local Hawaii professionals from various business backgrounds, representing Hawaii’s diverse population.

Sherri Foster, a resident of Maui, joined the Aquila team prior to the Trust’s launch to work with local Financial Professionals and Shareholders. She was interviewed in the article Island Hopping, and continues to represent Aquila Group of Funds and Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust today.

When asked about the time in her role, Sherri said:

“I am proud to represent the first and largest Hawaii municipal bond fund, “HTFT”, as a shareholder and Regional Sales Manager since the opening day on February 20, 1985. My role working with financial institutions across our state has given me the opportunity to build many relationships and make friends with financial professionals and shareholders alike. I love my job, and say Mahalo to everyone who has supported us for the past 35 years.”


If you’ve passed by the Kahului Fire Station on Maui, visited the Kona Community Aquatic Center on the Big Island or driven on the H-3 Freeway on Oahu, you’ve seen some of the many projects that Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust shareholders have helped build over the years. The Trust has financed highways, hospitals, bridges, airports, water treatment facilities, convention centers and many other projects across the islands, while providing investors the highest possible level of income exempt from Hawaii state and federal income taxes, consistent with preservation of capital.

Kahului Fire Station on Maui

H-3 Freeway on Oahu

Following the launch of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, Aquila launched six additional single-state municipal bond funds between 1986 and 1992; all of which still serve shareholders in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah. Today, Aquila’s mutual fund line-up consists of nine funds, including a high-yield corporate bond fund and an equity fund, but the company’s reputation for exceptional customer service, and conservative asset management, is rooted in the disciplined investment approach of managing locally based municipal portfolios through various market cycles for over three decades.

You can learn more about Aquila’s disciplined management approach and our commitment to the shareholders and financial professionals we serve by reading our company brochure, A Careful Approach for Today’s Markets, and our Guiding Principles on this website. Read more “Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust Turns 35”


I’ve Loved This Work from the Start


For our 35th anniversary series, Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado and Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon portfolio manager Chris Johns talks about persistence, the value of knowing your investors, and why he still finds the municipal bond market so fascinating.

You’ve been involved with Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado since its inception, correct?

Yes. In 1985 the United Bank of Denver—the initial sub-adviser for the Fund—was approached by Aquila founder Lacy Herrmann about starting a state-specific municipal bond fund for Colorado. As the bank’s bond expert, I was assigned to the project. The proposal got as far as senior management of the bank, who declined.

One year later Lacy approached us again. A few things had changed on the bank’s side to make the idea more attractive and this time management approved it. Through Aquila’s persistence, the fund got off the ground. Read more “I’ve Loved This Work from the Start”


Celebrating Our 35th Anniversary


Our History, People and Distinctive Strategy

Diana P. Herrmann, President & CEO, Aquila Investment Management LLC

Diana P. Herrmann, President & CEO, Aquila Investment Management LLC

Lacy Herrmann, Aquila’s founder, was one of the earlier pioneers in money market funds beginning in the mid-1970s. By the early 1980s, a handful of state-specific municipal bond mutual funds were being offered in states with large populations and higher tax rates, such as California, New York and Massachusetts.  Mr. Herrmann was intrigued with the concept of launching similar funds in other states.

Since the inception of Aquila Management Corporation 35 years ago, Aquila Group of Funds has grown into a nine-fund family with seven state specific municipal bond funds, a high-yield corporate bond fund, and an equity fund.  Through the years, however, Aquila has maintained its shareholder- and advisor-centric approach, as CEO, Diana Herrmann explains. Read more “Celebrating Our 35th Anniversary”