Society Members –
I write to you at the end of a very eventful year, especially for economies and governments. There were unexpected results in many elections and referendums, and the extent to which markets and pollsters misjudged major votes was astounding. Brexit, the Columbian Peace Deal, the US presidential election, the Italian constitutional referendum – the models and analysis that seemed to work so well in the past were upended by new trends and patterns that will require a major revision to the way political scientists, economists and investment professionals model the world. It is a good reminder to those of us who rely on quantitative models to continually test our assumptions, be skeptical of small sample sizes and not rely too heavily on historical data when predicting the future.
Another theme in 2016 was the dismal reputations that bankers and asset managers have in society right now. Each candidate in the presidential primaries and the main election seemed to get the loudest cheers when bashing Wall Street and hedge fund managers. But members of the CFA Society are helping to counteract this reputation. Besides our adherence to a Code of Ethics we have Society members providing financial education in high school classrooms with BestPrep, a partner program of CFA Society Minnesota. Other charterholders mentor younger colleagues through our professional mentorship program. Some help develop CFA curriculum through the Program Practice Analysis process, or teach our Level I, II and III prep classes, or do a myriad of other volunteer activities that help determine the future of finance and its reputation in the country.
I sincerely appreciate all of the volunteers who support CFA Society Minnesota initiatives. I also want to thank each and every one of our members for the work you do each day for your clients, and for adhering to the highest ethical standards despite the turmoil that sometimes surrounds us. I am constantly impressed and inspired by the work being done by charterholders in the region, and I appreciate your commitment to our Society and the industry.
As 2016 comes to a close, I want to wish all Society members and their families a very happy New Year.
Josh Howard, CFA
President, CFA Society of Minnesota