Society Members –
One of my favorite events of the year is the CFA Society Minnesota’s New Charterholder Dinner. There is an excitement in the air that equals or exceeds all of our other events, for reasons that those of us who have completed the three exams can easily understand. The excitement extends beyond just the honorees – the guests in attendance are usually just as relieved as the new charterholders that their partner or spouse is finally done with all that studying.
As I handed out charters at the dinner I couldn’t help but wonder what these new charterholders will be doing ten or fifteen years from now. My fifteen-year-career in the industry has seen the explosion of fundamental indexing and smart beta strategies, the rapid growth of ETFs, the slow bleed of actively managed assets and the massive shrinking of employment in traditional equity trading and investment banking. The next 15 years may continue some of these trends, or be upended and taken in a new direction by big data, increased regulation, demography or some unforeseen events (which seem to be happening a lot lately).
In 2013 CFA Institute launched an initiative called the Future of Finance. This initiative is an effort to “shape a trustworthy, forward thinking financial industry that better serves society.” I do not discount the challenge of taking the time to be “forward thinking,” given the time demands placed upon us to complete our regular day to day tasks and the constant short termism we face from markets, investors and clients. But, it is useful to step back every once in a while and really contemplate the future of the industry.
- How will new and developing technologies such as block chain and artificial intelligence affect investment management and wealth management?
- Will passive continue to take asset from active, or is there a limit to the amount of money that can be invested passively and still have efficient markets?
- Are defined contribution plans an effective way to provide retirement security, or will they need to be reimagined or replaced?
- How will states and companies fund their huge pension deficits in a world of low returns and expensive assets?
These are important questions that will need to be answered, some sooner than others, and hopefully by people with financial expertise. In the meantime, I want to once again congratulate our 70 new CFA charterholders and 34 Level III Pass Candidates in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, and to the others around the world. It is a tremendous accomplishment to get through all three exams while working in the industry, and I look forward to seeing you at future CFAMN Society events and programs.
Josh Howard, CFA
President, CFA Society Minnesota