Frontier Funds board nominates Mesirow exec to replace retiring lead indie

Erik Barefield to join $3.6bn board following departure of 20-year vet James Snyder

The board of the Frontier Funds, Inc. has asked shareholders to elect a mutual-fund industry veteran to fill a gap expected due to the upcoming retirement of its lead independent director, according to a July 7 proxy filing.

If elected at a shareholder meeting on Sept. 15, Erik D. Barefield will join the board effective Jan. 1, 2023, following the Dec. 31 retirement of James M. Snyder, who this year reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Snyder joined the Frontier board in 2002 after a 32-year career as an investment manager at Northern Trust, where he rose to the post of chief investment officer before retiring in 2001. He has been the board’s lead independent director since 2020.

Barefield, 55, is a senior managing director and head of traditional investment management at Chicago-based Mesirow Financial, Inc., where he has worked since 2005 as a senior managing director except for 2018 and 2019, when he worked as managing director at Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC.

Prior to his first stint with Mesirow, he was a vice president at Morgan Stanley, where he worked from 1994 to 2005. He began his career as an associate at First National Bank of Chicago from 1989 to 1994.

The board’s current independent directors include Snyder; Pamela H. Conroy, 61; and Steven K. Norgaard, 58.

William D. Forsyth III, 59, president of Frontier Partners, serves on the board as an interested director.

Elyce D. Dilworth is the funds’ chief compliance officer.

The board, which oversees about $3.6bn in assets across six mutual funds, has an audit committee and a nominating and governance committee.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, independent directors received $67,500 in total compensation.

The funds are managed by a subsidiary of Northbrook, Ill.-based Frontier Partners, which helps boutique investment managers market to institutional clients.

Erik D. Barefield
  • Senior managing director, head of traditional investment management, Mesirow Financial, 2020 – Present
  • Managing director, Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC, 2018 – 2019
  • Senior managing director, head of global client relationship team, Mesirow Financial, 2005 – 2018
  • Vice president, Morgan Stanley, 1994 – 2005
  • Associate, First National Bank of Chicago, 1989 – 1994