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Entrepreneur Subcommittee with CFA Society of San Francisco

Update on 6/24/2014: Mike Bodnyk, Richard Faw and I, Amy Zhang, now run the Bay Area Financial Entrepreneurs Forum independently from CFA Society.  Join our community on LinkedIn.


For the upcoming fiscal year,  I’m charged with the responsibility to lead the Entrepreneur Subcommittee as the Co-Chair of Career Development Committee with CFA Society of San Francisco.  This is a new subcommittee serving portfolio managers, traders and other financial professionals who are inspired to run their own asset management firms, asset managers who are looking to grow their firms, and professionals serving owners of asset management firms.

I learn from my own experience that being an entrepreneur is a lot different than being a corporate ladder climber.  Most of the small business owners started because they know how to do something.  My portfolio managers know how to trade and generate high ROR, and I know accounting for alternative investment industry, such as hedge funds and private equity funds, but there are lots of other aspects when it comes to starting and running a business.  This subcommittee is created so that the managers, after leaving their previous big shops, can brain-storm with other asset managers, either on investment opportunities, marketing strategies, operational issues, or compliance concerns.

We are currently working on several different programs, one of which is the monthly Financial Entrepenur Forum with fellow owners of asset management firms.  The first session is scheduled for September 7, 2011 during lunch hour at CFA SF office at 300 Montgomery Street, 11th Floor, after this session, it will be held every second Thursday of the month at the same location.

For the first two to three sessions, we will cover some basics about starting the firm, including how much it costs for first year, pros and cons of different office solutions, experience with any virtual/part-time/full-time assistant employed, how to port performance from previous employers, if not, what the alternatives are marketing your prior performance to prospects.

After the first few sessions, we will share our notes for the sessions with all members that join the discussion at a later time in the year (possibly with all CFA San Francisco members after we figure out which platform is most effective), so all members can bring new question to the table at the following sessions.  Based on the agenda of the sessions, we may also invite one or two specialists.  For example, we may invite a guest from a reputable CPA firm to discuss tax planning issues during our November session, and we may also invite a legal/compliance specialist to talk about compliance issues during our January or February session.  The agenda shall always reflect the key arising issues for our CFA members, so they can be addressed timely.

Other programs in the pipeline includes:

1) Educational program: after the success of several “how to start ….(hedge funds/RIA)” programs with asset managers as panels, I am planning to invite asset allocators to share their observation in the industry regarding starting and growing the firm.

2) Matchmaking/networking program targetting at members who are looking for partners to join, such as people who are looking for CTO to design some trading platform or code some trading software, or a long-short equity manager looking for an option trader for hedging.  We are considering applying a speed-dating format that allows everyone five minutes to pitch their business idea, what skill set they have and what they are looking for in a partner to one individual at the table before they move to the next one.

I would love to hear what people want to discuss at the brown bag lunch session ASAP, since it goes first on the calendar.  Also welcome any comments/thoughts on the other two programs mentioned above.   Thank you.

P.S.: Missed the earlier CFA program on “How to Start a Registered Investment Advisory Firm”?  No worries.  Read our 3 parts blog articles.