Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed a safe and joyous holiday season with family and friends. It seems as if we just celebrated the holiday and beginning of 2015. Now it is time to remember to write "2016" on checks, correspondence, etc. as we begin another new year.
If you joined us for the Winter Seminar in December, you know that the hot topic of discussion was the anticipated rate hike by the Federal Reserve. To the surprise of no one, the FOMC announced a rate change on December 16, 2015, the first in seven years. The Fed funds rate continues to be shown as a range and this increase represents a change from basically zero (range of 0.00% - 0.25%) to a range of 0.25% - 0.50%. Certainly the prospect of improved interest earnings and investment opportunities in the coming year is something to look forward to! It should also provide for another lively discussion at the Winter Seminar in December 2016, which will again be hosted in Houston.
If you attended the 2015 seminar, you know that it was held in a great venue with many options for entertaining, dining, shopping, and visiting with your colleagues from across Texas. We even welcomed one attendee from Oklahoma! My thanks go to everyone who made this seminar one of the best ever – from the Board, committee members, and staff of UNT, specifically Patrick Shinkle, Emily Cook, and Amy Avina, who work so tirelessly to put together the agenda and make it happen, to the speakers and attendees who all contribute to the success of this annual event. We received great feedback from the attendees with many positive and encouraging comments. Thank you for taking the time to provide your input as that allows us to work toward continued improvements in the topics and format of the seminar. Our goal is to make the seminar informative and educational for newbies while keeping it interesting for the seasoned professionals who have a wealth of knowledge to offer first time participants from their questions and comments during the sessions and breaks to their conversations during the various social events.
If you are new to the public sector and/or to your responsibilities in handling public funds, remember that GTOT provides additional training during the year through cash handling seminars and Public Funds Investment Act workshops. The GTOT also offers a certification program to ensure your investment policy is in compliance with the Texas Public Funds Investment Act. As part of that review, you will receive a certification to recognize your policy as being in compliance with the Act. If your policy does not meet the criteria for certification, you will receive an explanation of the needed changes to get your policy into compliance with the Act. This program could not be successful without the volunteer efforts of the committee members who review and analyze each investment policy submitted for certification. A big thank you and debt of gratitude goes to these dedicated individuals for helping us all to implement and maintain suitable investment policies!
As we begin 2016 on the heels of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve, I wish you safety, suitability, diversity, liquidity, and yield as you forge ahead. I hope it proves to be a year of prosperity for public funds investments!