I hope this note finds everyone well and enjoying some well-deserved summer vacation time with family and friends. Following our terrific Spring Forum in Chicago, the Trustees met on June 6th for their summer meeting. We had a very productive meeting, the highlights of which included fleshing out the program for our Annual Meeting with our co-chairs Yves Denize (TIAA-CREEF) and Charles Kolin (Greenberg Traurig) – “The Search for the Missing Yield: Where in the World is My ROI?” is certain to be a compelling adventure. Please plan on joining us October 16 & 17th at the Times Square Intercontinental New York.
During our June 6th meeting, the Trustees also took a deep dive into our financial picture. As a non-profit organization, the goal of the ACIC has generally been to “break even” year over year, with membership dues covering operating expenses (those not related to our conferences) and conference revenue covering related conference expenses. Over the last many years, the College built up a healthy net worth, principally from making a small profit on its conferences, to serve as a rainy day fund. Beginning in 2012, the Trustees decided to invest in a substantial upgrade our website, which thanks to Tom O’Connor (Bingham), Tim Brennan (Hartford) and Clint Woods (Principal), has proven to be a greatly enhanced resource for the membership. Our change in management company introduced some transition expenses, and our change in venue for the Annual Meeting also reduced our cushion.
Like most organizations today, we face a challenging expense environment, from credit card fees to website costs to meal and internet expenses at conferences. On the revenue side, our attendance at conferences has remained quite strong, but we have had a gradual reduction in membership and therefore membership dues, as firms and institutions are ever watchful of their respective budgets. We have and continue to seek ways to reduce expenses (e.g., leveraging the website to limit mailings & printing expenses); however, the impact of this environment on our operating budget has left us in a position where our dues don’t fully cover our operating expenses.
Accordingly, at our June meeting, the Trustees took a hard look at our dues. Considering all the factors, including that dues have been steady at $195 since 2005, the Trustees voted to increase our annual dues starting in 2015 to $250. This new dues amount will be reflected in the annual dues renewal notice you will receive in November, and we felt it make sense to let all of you know now as you plan your 2015 budgets. The Trustees are convinced that this is the right financial move for the College.
Given the wonderful camaraderie and networking opportunities and the top flight educational programs offered by the College throughout the year, we feel that the ACIC remains an excellent value. So many of you contribute to our conferences, committees and other activities (such as our enhanced website and this terrific newsletter Private Notes) and are doing a tremendous job keeping the College topical, vibrant and very relevant to the many legal professionals that support institutional investors. The institutional investment industry has never been faster moving and complex than it is today. And the mission of the ACIC – to bring institutional investment lawyers together to provide education, to enhance market practices & documentation, and last but certainly not least, to build collegial relationships - has never been more critical. I look forward to many additional years with all of you and many new Fellows in support of the College!
Looking forward to seeing you all in New York on October 16th.