Hilliard Lyons CEO Jim Allen talks tanking markets, arena finances

The Standard & Poor’s 500 is down 6.8 percent over the past month, a fair sell-off for a stock market that’s done almost nothing but rise since bottoming out in the spring of 2009. To get some perspective, Insider Louisville checked in with Jim Allen, CEO of Hilliard Lyons, the Louisville-based financial management firm. Here are a few outtakes from that interview, with more to come in a later post.

Jim Allen

Jim Allen

“I think there’s been a tremendous market run,” he said. “I think there’s been some growing uneasiness that the market was fully priced, fully valued, that there wasn’t much room for price appreciation, unless there were some really positive signs (in) corporate earnings, or economic growth.”

We asked Allen what he considers the most important financial advice anyone should follow.

“If clients can be thoughtful, use diversification, understand their circumstances, and do financial planning, which will in turn help you avoid making big mistakes,” he said.

We also asked about his take on the financial health of the KFC Yum! Center. Hilliard is the financial advisor to the arena, which saw its debt downgraded, amidst complaints that it isn’t meeting its debt obligations.

In a 2011 interview with the Lane Report, Allen said that when Hilliard Lyons helped secure financing for the arena in 2008 the firm believed: “… The investment was sound, we knew the project and had a lot of confidence in it. Hilliard Lyons did a good job on the project for our investors and our community. Everybody was a winner.”

But what does he think about the arena’s performance now? “I’m limited in what I can say because we are the financial advisor to the arena authority,” he said. “Clearly the economy changed or was changing, post the offering and the good news is that things are getting a lot better now. So we feel good about it.”

But wouldn’t more events at the arena put it on more solid financial footing? “The utilization for concerts and other conventions and other events is huge, and we’ve seen a distinct improvement there,” he said.

What about a pro team? “I’ve got mixed feelings on a pro team,” he said. “If the city and the fans in this area could support it I’d be all for it. I’m not sure we’ve got the depth to be able to support it at this time.”

Check back at IL later for the full story.

Kevin Connelly, CEO of CNPE

Kevin Connelly, CEO of CNPE

Longtime Center for Nonprofit Excellence CEO retiring

The founding CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Kevin Connelly, plans to retire at the end of 2014. Connelly spearheaded the launch of CNPE in 1999 and has led the organization since its inception.

CNPE — itself a nonprofit — serves as a central source of support and information for local nonprofits, offering services ranging from professional development to consultation on best practices.

In light of Connelly’s retirement, CNPE is seeking a new executive director; Lori Fain, executive search consultant with Oliver Group, is accepting applications and inquiries about the position. (502-241-2292 ext. 137, [email protected].)