02/04/2021

Chris Johns Covered Munis on CNBC’s The Exchange

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Aquila’s municipal bond fund portfolio manager, Chris Johns, was a recent guest on CNBC’s The Exchange with Brian Sullivan. Chris and Brian discussed the growing size of outstanding municipal bond debt and the importance of in-depth credit research in an environment where demand is high and credit spreads are narrow. Chris also shared his thoughts on current credit trends and the risk profile of municipals.

You can watch Chris’ segment on CNBC’s website, under The Exchange’s Muni Money section, or listen to the segment on The Exchange’s January 29th podcast; available on all podcast platforms.

Chris has managed Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado for over 30 years and Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, which he co-manages with Tim Iltz, since 2011.

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

01/14/2021

The Wall Street Journal Quotes PM Chris Johns on Muni Issuance Boom

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Chris Johns

Municipal bond issuance is at a 10-year high, reports The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. And Wall Street’s paper of record reached out to Aquila portfolio manager Chris Johns for his insights on the boom.

Muni bond issuance totaled $474 billion in 2020 as state and local governments took advantage of low interest rates to raise capital while revenue streams continued to decline due to pandemic pressures. Taxable issuance was up for the year as governments took advantage of the ability to fill budget gaps with those funds, and lower-rated borrowers caught a break as risk tolerance shifted with the search for yield.

“Alongside the drop in yields, another factor driving the borrowing was that yield-hungry investors were willing to accept less interest from lower-rated borrowers relative to what they demanded from higher-rated ones”  – Chris Johns

 

Mr. Johns has managed Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado for over 30 years and is a co-portfolio manager, along with Tim Iltz, of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon.

 

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

12/09/2020

Tony Tanner, CFA® Discusses the Muni Market on Asset TV Masterclass

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Tony Tanner, CFA®, Portfolio Manager of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona, was among a panel of municipal experts on Asset TV’s November 2020 Municipal Bond Masterclass. The full program, which offers one hour of CE credit, covers municipal credit, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, macro considerations for investors, and much more.

Watch Tony’s portion of the program for his thoughts on the municipal bond market, finding credit opportunities and which sectors he is watching closely.

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Mr. Tanner is Senior Vice President of Aquila Investment Management. He is the Lead Portfolio Manager for Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona and also co-manages Aquila Tax-Free Fund for Utah and Aquila Churchill Tax-Free Fund of Kentucky. Joining Mr. Tanner on the panel were Grant Dewey, Head of Municipal Capital Markets at Build America Mutual, and David Hammer, Head of Municipal Bond Portfolio Management at PIMCO.

We hope you find the program informative.

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

06/10/2020

Tony Tanner, CFA® on Money Life with Chuck Jaffe

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Tony Tanner

Tony Tanner

Tony Tanner, CFA®, Municipal Bond Fund Portfolio Manager with Aquila Group of Funds, was recently interviewed on Money Life with Chuck Jaffe.

During their conversation, Tony discussed how the troubled economy and lower interest rates will impact the bond market and may lead investors to diversify their fixed-income holdings. He notes that while he doesn’t anticipate a big wave of municipal defaults, credit-quality will be challenged.

Chuck Jaffe is a veteran financial journalist and nationally syndicated financial columnist whose work appears in newspapers from coast to coast. He started the Money Life podcast in 2012, and previously hosted Your Money and various podcasts for MarketWatch, where he was a senior columnist.

We hope you enjoy the interview.

Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. All prospectuses are available on this site, from your financial advisor, and when you call 800-437-1020.

05/28/2020

We recognize recently retired Trustee, B. J. Kobayashi

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B. J. Kobayashi retired from the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust on March 31, 2020. He served as a member of the Aquila Group of Funds Compliance, Risk and Insurance Oversight Committee through December 31, 2019 and formerly served as Trustee of Pacific Capital Funds of Cash Assets Trust (three money-market funds in the Aquila Group of Funds) from 2009-2012. His fellow Trustees, the Aquila Group of Funds and the staff of Aquila Investment Management LLC have benefited greatly from his personal integrity, considerable experience and valuable business insight, and we recognize and appreciate Mr. Kobayashi’s judgment, perseverance and skill throughout his service as an independent Trustee.

On behalf of Aquila Group of Funds, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for Mr. Kobayashi’s contributions and for his dedication to the interests of the Trust’s shareholders.

05/08/2020

Chris Johns Covers the Current Municipal Bond Market in Asset TV Masterclass

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Chris Johns, portfolio manager of Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado and Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, was a panelist in the May 2020 Asset TV Municipal Bond Masterclass. The discussion covered how the coronavirus pandemic, historic volatility and the Fed’s response is creating a unique market environment for municipal bonds. The panelists examined the impact on local and state issuers, different municipal sectors and credit strength.

 

Chris Johns is Senior Vice President, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager with Davidson Fixed Income Management, sub-adviser to Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado and Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon. Joining Mr. Johns on the panel were JR Reiger, Owner of the Reiger Report, and Grant Dewey, Head of Municipal Capital Markets at Build America Mutual.

The full program linked above provides CE Credit. We hope you find the program informative.

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

04/24/2020

Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon Special Shareholder Meeting to be held Virtually

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In light of public health concerns regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon announced on April 24, 2020 that the Fund’s Special Meeting of Shareholders, to be held on May 29, 2020, will be held as a virtual meeting. Shareholders will not be able to attend the meeting in person. This change has been made out of an abundance of caution and is intended to support the health and well-being of shareholders. The March 2, 2020 record date for determining shareholders entitled to vote at the meeting remains unchanged. For more information, please review the Press Release and Proxy, which is available on this website.

03/06/2020

Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust Turns 35

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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”

02/06/2020

We Recognize and Celebrate Three Retiring Trustees

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At Aquila Group of Funds, the hallmark of our time-tested municipal bond fund strategy has always been our local presence in the markets in which we invest. Included in that local presence are the members of our Boards of Trustees who reside in the states where we manage mutual funds.

Mutual fund boards are the champions of shareholders, and for over 35 years Aquila Group of Funds and our respected Trustees have been shareholder focused. In December, our company recognized the pending retirements of three esteemed independent Trustees, Mr. Richard L. Humphreys, Mr. Russell K. Okata, and Mr. Ralph R. Shaw.

Mr. Richard L. Humphreys, retired from the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, effective December 31, 2019, after having served as a Trustee since 2009 and Chair of the Board since 2013. Mr. Humphreys is President of both Hawaii Receivables Management, LLC, a factoring company, and Lynk Payment Systems Hawaii, LLC, a credit card processing firm. Among other executive roles in banking and finance, he was formerly Chairman of Bank of America, Hawaii, President of Hawaiian Trust Company (the original investment adviser of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust, which later merged with the Trust’s current adviser, Bank of Hawaii), President of First Federal S&L and Executive Vice President of Bank of Hawaii. Mr. Humphreys is currently serving and has previously served on the board of directors of a broad variety of local organizations, including Kahua Ranch Ltd. His considerable business experience and valuable business insight have greatly benefitted Aquila Investment Management, his fellow Trustees, and shareholders.

Mr. Russell K. Okata retired from the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust and the board of Aquila Funds Trust, effective December 31, 2019. Mr. Okata joined the board of Hawaiian Tax-Free Trust in 1992, and was a Trustee of Pacific Capital Funds of Cash Assets Trust (three former money-market funds in the Aquila Group of Funds) from 1993-2012. In 2007, Mr. Okata joined the board of Trustees of Aquila Three-Peaks High Income Fund, and later became a Trustee of Aquila Funds Trust which oversees both Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund and Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund. During his tenure as Trustee, Mr. Okata was a member of the Judicial Council of Hawaii and served as a director of various civic and charitable organizations. He was the Executive Director of Hawaii Government Employees Association and the International Vice President of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from 1981 – 2007. Mr. Okata’s experience in local government affairs and his knowledge of Hawaii has been invaluable to the boards and shareholders he served.

Mr. Ralph R. Shaw retired from the board of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Oregon, effective December 31, 2019, after having served as Trustee since 2000. During his tenure as a Trustee, Mr. Shaw served in a variety of leadership roles including as Audit Committee Chair since 2002. Mr. Shaw’s prestigious and varied background included extensive experience in the securities business and as a member of the board of directors of a number of companies throughout the country, including Rentrak Corporation, a global media research company. He has served as a leading venture capitalist in the Pacific Northwest, backing a broad variety of companies including Costco. Mr. Shaw is owner of Shaw Management LLC, and was President of Shaw Management Company, an investment counseling firm, from 1980 – 2018. His extensive business experience and insight have greatly benefitted his fellow Trustees and the Fund’s shareholders during his time as Trustee.

On behalf of the Funds, we express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of these retired Trustees. All three individuals, over their tenure as Trustee, brought a high level of dedication and professionalism to their role as a fiduciary on behalf of fund shareholders. We are very proud to have worked with them, appreciative of their years of service, and we wish them well in all of their future endeavors.

12/06/2019

Get to Know Arizona’s 21st Century Healthcare Economy

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Tony Tanner, CFA®, recently authored The Ascension of Arizona’s 21st Century Healthcare Economy for Phoenix’s inBusiness publication. Read the article to learn more about how the healthcare sector in Arizona has become a significant component of the state’s economy and a contributor to growth.

Tony Tanner

Tony Tanner, CFA®

Tony Tanner, CFA® is Senior Vice President of Aquila Investment Management and the Lead Portfolio Manager of Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona.