Frontier Funds’ lead indie takes mandatory retirement after 20 years

Portfolio expert Erik Barefield steps into opened by retirement of James Snyder

Shareholders of six funds managed by Frontier Funds, Inc. confirmed the appointment of Erik D. Barefield to fill a board slot left open by the mandatory retirement of lead independent director James M. Snyder, according to a Jan. 6 SEC filing.

Snyder, 75, who was elected lead independent director in 2022 and served as chair of the funds’ nominating committee, joined the Frontier board in 2002, a year after leaving his position as executive vice president and chief investment officer at Northern Trust, where he had worked for 33 years.

The board announced in July, 2022 that Snyder would leave at the end of 2022 in accordance with company bylaws under which directors are generally subject to retirement at age 75.

The board’s new leading independent director is Steven K. Norgaard, 58, an attorney in private practice who joined the board in 2013.

His position as chair of the Audit Committee goes to fellow independent director Pamela H. Conroy, 61, who has been on the board since 2020, who passes her position as chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee to Barefield, the board’s newest member, who was also assigned a position on the Audit Committee.

Shareholders confirmed the nomination of Barefield as a replacement for Snyder during a Sept. 15 shareholder election that also confirmed the positions of two incumbent independent directors — Conroy, Norgaard, and the board’s lone interested director, William D. Forsyth III, 59.

Barefield, 55, is senior managing director and head of Traditional Investment Management at Chicago-based investment-services firm Mesirow Financial, Inc., in charge of portfolio teams managing fixed-income, equitable and sustainable assets worth approximately $10bln and currency assets of approximately $90bln according to a Mesirow announcement of his position in December, 2020.

Barefield previously held positions as head of the Global Client Relationship team at Mesirow Advanced Strategies, as managing director of Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC and in institutional fixed-income sales at Morgan Stanley, which he left as a vice president in 2005.

He sits on the Mesirow board of directors and serves as chair of the investment committee and member of the executive committee for Metropolitan Family Services and is a member of the executive committee of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

The board has two standing committees: an Audit Committee that met twice during the fiscal year ended June 30, 0222, and a Nominating and Governance Committee. It also appointed a Valuation Committee made up of members of Frontegra that are responsible for fund valuation and pricing procedures and for the funds’ liquidity risk-management program.

Independent directors receive compensation of $45,000 per year plus $5,000 for each quarterly board meeting held either in person or remotely. Total compensation for each independent director was $67,500 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022.

The funds’ CCO is Elyce D. Dilworth, who has held the position and that of anti-money laundering compliance officer since 2008.

The investment adviser for all six funds is Frontegra Asset Management, Inc., an investment-services firm based in Northbrook, Ill.

Erik D. Barefield
  • Sr. managing director, Traditional Investment Management Mesirow Financial, Inc., 2020 – Present
  • Managing director, Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC, 2018 – 2019
  • Sr. managing director, Global Client Relationship Team, Mesirow Financial, 2005 – 2018
  • Vice president, Morgan Stanley, 1994 – 2005
  • Associate, First National Bank of Chicago, 1989 – 1994