AVMA finances weathering Wall Street's roller coaster


While many in the country have seen a drop in their investment portfolios, the AVMA is doing pretty well.

Schaumburg, Ill. — While many in the country have seen a 30 percent drop in their investment portfolios, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has faired a little better thanks to diversifying three years ago.

"We have a mix of a multitude of stocks selected by our advisors, so we are not overly weighted in any sector or market," says Dr. Bret D. Marsh, treasurer of AVMA for the past 3 ½ years.

Prior to 2005, the AVMA had all of its funds in CDs, securities and mutual funds, and it still does, but now the non-profit also has funds in stocks.

"When we made the switch, it was for the long-term money," Marsh says, meaning AVMA invests conservatively.

Even though that is the case, the agency isn't immune to the cloudy financial forecast.

"We've seen a downturn, but it isn't the 30-some percent that others in the market have seen. We're down 10 percent in the managed funds we have. Of course we'd like to see better, but we haven't seen the loses we might have had we not diversified."

AVMA guidelines require the group maintains 50 percent to 150 percent of one year's operating expenses. AVMA has a $29 million operating budget, which is what it tries to keep in its reserves.

About $17 million of that, Marsh says, is in CDs, government securities, mutual funds and cash. The remaining $12 million in reserves is in managed funds, which is down 10 percent.

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