Q&A with Private Funds CFO’s Chris Tamms

Private Funds CFO Network head Chris Tamms explains what makes our professional network so attractive.

What were the standout moments in the peer-to-peer Private Funds CFO Network in 2023?

Chris Tamms

The Network came into its own with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last March. Our members urgently wanted to understand how they may be impacted and what actions they could take to mitigate the fallout. Of course, under those circumstances you go to those you trust most – your peers. At very short notice, I set up a series of private online think-tank sessions and updates for our members to meet and hear from legal and finance experts, swap notes on banking moves and share how they were dealing with their accounts, credit lines, fund finance options and more.

The Network proved its worth again when the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced the newly adopted Private Funds Rules. We responded quickly with three substantive compliance-related sessions to help support our members. I’ve particularly enjoyed gathering women members together in our Circles, both virtually and at our in-person forums and roundtables.

I’m proud too of the professional development series that we developed with executive coach and organizational psychologist Dr Ben Elman. And, of course, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CFO New York Forum, where my team and I met with more than 500 attendees. It has been the best year for the Network members.

What’s happening in the Network in 2024? 

Some specifics around AI and more are detailed below, but first I want to highlight the amazing Private Funds CFO Network Advisory Board. It has helped us create on-point topics, find speakers and develop ideas for our membership. We’ll continue to develop our Circles meetups, which are smaller, tightly focused groups within the Network that share a common theme or characteristic, such as the Women’s Circle, Emerging Managers Circle and Venture Circle. There are golden nuggets of information shared during these circles that senior finance and operations executives should not miss! Our web platform, hosting a directory of members, content and the ability to connect, is being developed. Members are meeting peers and thought leaders in our arena, either through our ability to connect the right people at the right time or through introductions at our virtual or in-person events.

What are the trending topics in 2024? 

There are some clear priorities, including the Private Funds Adviser Rules and how firms are dealing with them; automation and generative AI and the practical applications for private funds, with some great case histories from those well advanced on this; how CFOs and COOs can help portfolio companies with value creation and operational efficiencies; and how CFOs/COOs can raise their profile to help the firm attract investors. And, of course, November’s US presidential election.

How will the Private Funds CFO Network evolve?

The Network will grow and I’m delighted that we’re welcoming our first European members – you can imagine how helpful that will be to any firm expanding into new jurisdictions. What won’t change is our core responsibility to bring trusted peers together in a timely way and with a focus on the most pressing issues. I am confident the Network will become essential for the modern, forward-thinking CFO.