The Commonwealth International Series Trust Board of Trustees oversees the operation of the Commonwealth Funds and ensures that corporate policies of investment management are followed. The Board of Trustees has been elected to represent the interests of shareholders of the Commonwealth Funds and their investment portfolios.
The Board of Trustees is majorly composed of independent directors, which allows them to provide an objective check on management. Three of the four Trustees are independent or not interested persons‚ meaning they have no significant relationship with the Commonwealth Funds advisor or underwriter.
Mr. Ewing is adjunct retired Professor of Economics at the University of Houston, Houston Community College and Lone Star College. He serves on the Board of the Japan-American Society of Houston and was a former Executive Director of the organization
Mr. Ewing has been actively involved in the Houston international business scene through trade consulting with Houston International Affairs and as President of Vuepoint-Texas, a pioneering computer-based training company. He was one of the early developers of The Greater Houston Partnership where he was responsible for international trade development. Mr. Ewing managed inbound and outbound trade missions, promoting trade development strategy and infrastructure, and assisting Houston companies expand imports and exports.
Prior to joining the Greater Houston Partnership, he founded and managed his own trading company after a seventeen-year career with Gulf Oil Corporation and Chevron. There he held a variety of positions with Gulf Oil Asia, Corporate Business Development, and Gulf Oil Trading Company, where he headed the company’s Strategic Planning and Business Development Department. Mr. Ewing was also a professor at the University of Maryland’s Far East Division in Japan where he taught in the Political Science and Economics Departments. He has also served in a variety of positions in the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Information Agency, and the U.S. Senate. Mr. Ewing holds a Master’s in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from the University of Mississippi.
John Akard Jr.
Mr. Akard is a shareholder of the law firm of Coplen & Banks, P.C. He is licensed by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, admitted to practice by the State Bar of Texas, United States District Courts in Texas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
After receiving his B.B.A. in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1988, John worked as a senior staff auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. While there, his clients included SEC regulated, publicly traded companies and small start-up businesses primarily in the telecommunications, regulated utilities and high-tech industries. He subsequently received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Texas Tech University.
Mr. Akard is a member of the State Bar of Texas and its Bankruptcy and Real Estate, Probate & Trust Sections, the Houston Bar Association (“HBA”), and its Estate Planning and Probate and Bankruptcy Sections, the American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants (“AAA-CPA”), the Houston Estate and Financial Forum, the Texas Society of CPAs and the Houston Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter. Mr. Akard is a past President and Director of the AAA-CPA and is a member of the Vestry of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cypress, Texas. He also previously served as President of the Texas Chapter and Director at Large for AAA-CPA, Adult Christian Formation Ministry leader and Treasurer of the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Board Member and Chair of the Finance Committee of the Episcopal Foundation of Texas, President and Treasurer of the Aggie Sigma Chi House Corporation (a non-profit corporation), Chair of the HBA Law Library Committee, and President of the Dallas Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter.
Ms. Kelly’s entire career has been devoted to international government relations. She worked as a consultation primarily in the energy sector establishing and maintaining a positive working relationship with foreign government officials through training, market intelligence and organizing visits of senior (ambassador level and higher) foreign government leaders. Clients include international energy companies, business organizations and not-for-profit organizations specializing in international development.
Before forming her company, Ms. Kelly headed the Houston International Protocol Alliance where she acted as Chief of Protocol for the City of Houston for more than five years.
Ms. Kelly served as Honorary Consul for New Zealand in Houston from 1995-2014. She has received a number of professional recognitions over the years for her work. Among them, she was presented with special certificates of merit from the government of Bolivia, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, U.S. Secret Service, and several special merit awards for her work at Amoco. She has lectured widely and has been a guest on several television programs. She has also been featured in various articles in newspapers and magazines. Ms. Kelly holds a BA in History and European Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She also studied at the University de Strasbourg, France.
Robert W. Scharar
Mr. Scharar is primarily responsible for the management of the portfolios for the Australia/New Zealand Fund, the Africa Fund, the Japan Fund, the Global Fund and the Real Estate Securities Fund. Additionally, Mr. Scharar is President and Director of FCA Corp and has primarily worked in this capacity since 1975.
Mr. Scharar received his AA degree from Polk Community College in 1968 and his BS in Accounting from the University of Florida in 1970. He received his MBA and JD from Northeastern University in 1971 and 1974, respectively. He also received his LLM in Taxation from Boston University Law School in 1979.
Mr. Scharar is a member of the Florida and Massachusetts Bars and is a Florida Certified Public Accountant. He is the Director of the American Academy of Attorney-CPA, which he was once president. Mr. Scharar is also a director, manager, and/or officer of the following entities: Blantyre Hotels, Ltd. (Malawi), Africap, LLC, NICO Holdings, Ltd. (Malawi), First Commonwealth Holdings Corporation, First Commonwealth Mortgage Trust, Holly Mortgage Trust, Ivy Realty Trust.