September 2017

Treasurer's Report

J. Abbott Byrd, III, MD

The SRS continues to be financially sound.  As of May 31st of this year our total assets are $13.7M compared to $12.3M in 2016 and $11.9M in 2015.  The breakdown is $5.1M in the Rockefeller (REO) fund, $4.2M in the Vanguard (Legacy OREF Endowment) fund, $3.9M cash (research and operating) and other assets $500K.  Our investments have done quite well this year with Rockefeller returning approximately 12% YTD and Vanguard 8.08% through June 30th net of fees.  July numbers are not included in the Vanguard return and would certainly increase this return.  In addition, the asset allocation of the two funds differs by design so a direct comparison is not a fair assessment of one fund against the other.  Vanguard is outperforming its benchmarks by 20-30 basis points.  Overall, the SRS investment strategy is working quite well.

General cash reserves were $1.8M at the end of December 2016 which included a $104K net loss in 2016.  This loss was attributed primarily to underperformance of the IMAST meeting in Washington, D.C. where attendance did not meet projections and expenses were high.  As of May 31st, the general cash reserves have grown to $2.3M but we have budgeted a loss of $155K for 2017.  Again, this is due primarily to the performance of the IMAST meeting which was just held in Cape Town.  However, it is too early to determine the exact fiscal performance of the meeting as all of the expenses have not been paid.  We are looking forward to a well-attended Annual Meeting in Philadelphia which historically has been profitable for the SRS and will help to minimize other losses.

The membership continues to be generous in its donation to the SRS.  As of May, approximately $50K has been donated to support our mission of research, education, and outreach.  I am looking for this to increase as traditionally the bulk of our donations have been made in December as part of tax planning for year’s end.  Serena Hu heads our Development Committee and has an exciting Legacy-Spine Family Tree effort in the works and I encourage you to generously support this effort.

Aside from my routine duties as Treasurer, I have two projects that I am working on.  The first is looking at where our general reserves of $2.3M are being held.  Though the SRS has these assets in several locations the amount exceeds that of funds protected under the FDIC insurance plan.  Dan Nemec, of EDI, and I are looking into other options that would provide protection yet ready access to these monies.  Secondly, I am heading a small subcommittee that is doing “rainy day” planning should our revenue streams decrease in the future.  While the SRS leadership does not anticipate this will happen it is always prudent to “hope for the best and plan for the worst.”

It is a pleasure to serve as Treasurer for the SRS and if you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.  In addition, I would like to give a special thanks to Dan Nemec for his invaluable assistance in my role as Treasurer.