From the SPSSI Treasurer, Dr. Rich Weiner (continued)
Anila will be busy in the next couple of months helping to complete the move of Central Office. Council approved the sale of our current property at 208 I St NE, in Washington, DC for $1,050,000 and the purchase of our new property at 700 7th St, in Washington for $1.9 million. I have made several visits to SPSSI Central Office in the last several years and I have had the opportunity to tour our new property. I can say with full confidence that this change represents major growth for our organization. The old property, while adequate to fulfill SPSSI’s central functions (i.e., managing the day to day activities of our organization, supporting policy research and supporting policy education), was cramped, and in need of some major updates. The new property is not only much larger -- with room for growth -- and much more contemporary, but also exudes a sense that SPSSI is a professional organization that fits well into the Washington environment. It has a large conference room, multiple floors and several sunlit offices. The office is located in a vibrant neighborhood close to Capitol Hill. I recommend a visit the next time you find yourself in the Washington D.C. area. I predict that you will be impressed!
Although not reflective of a rapid change, SPSSI finances are very sound reflecting steady growth since Hightower Advisors at Charles Schwab began managing our investments. As of June 2017 the market value of SPSSI assets totaled $3,962,394 up from $3,818,784 one year ago, (a 4.8% increase) which includes $3,638,462 held in a Managed Account and $323,932 in cash and equivalents. The SPSSI managed account portfolio has done well since 2010 with a 7.1% annual average gain across the seven-year period (2010 – 2017). The last year’s increase of 4.8% reflects current market fluctuations. While SPSSI is in very sound financial shape at the current time, Council considered a change in investment strategies presented at the last two meetings by Raffa Wealth Management, LLC, which argued that it could even do better for SPSSI – faster growth at lower management fees. Raffa would manage SPSSI investments in a modified Index Fund that would not include objectionable holdings that go against SPSSI policy (weapons investments, fossil fuel investments, harmful health holdings and the like). SPSSI recently divested itself of all objectionable energy sector holdings. Because of our sound financial status and our new investment in the property at 700 7th St. Council felt confident that switching to the modified index fund approach would be beneficial for our organization and moved forward with a motion to change advisors and investments.
These are exciting times of change for SPSSI! Well managed change is a good thing and I think we are moving ahead in a thoughtful and organized manner. In fact, Council voted to initiate a new strategic planning process, which our new President Wendy Williams will lead us through in the upcoming months. With all the new and exciting changes going on, Council agreed that it is time to revisit and perhaps revise our mission statement and strategic plan. We are in the process of designing the planning process which will involve all interested SPSSI members. These are indeed exciting times for SPSSI. I remain honored to have a role in SPSSI governance as its Secretary/Treasurer and look forward to watching our organization continue to grow and change in the years ahead.