Affordable housing industry veteran Fred Copeman died Jan. 20, according to several colleagues.
A leading authority on the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, Copeman was executive vice president, advocacy and new business, at Boston Financial Investment Management.
Prior to joining Boston Financial in 2017, Copeman was a partner at CohnReznick for seven years. He also spent about 23 years at Ernst & Young.
“Fred is a true pioneer who started the corporate investor due diligence business that helped attract billions and billions of tax equity into affordable housing and community development projects,” says longtime colleague Cindy Fang, a partner at CohnReznick. “He has mentored many in the tax credit industry, including myself. When asked a simple question, he would return with a 10-page handwritten essay, starting with a history lesson. He had vision, humor, and a big heart. The housing tax credit industry would not have been the same without Fred.”
While he was a principal in CohnReznick’s Boston office, he was a member of the national affordable housing industry practice, launching and leading the Tax Credit Investment Services group. In that role, Copeman provided due diligence and other services to institutional investors in tax credit projects and closely monitored the housing credit equity market.
He was a popular presence at industry conferences, where he would dig into the state of the equity market or share findings from one of the many studies he authored or co-authored on LIHTC property performance.
Beth Mullen, partner and affordable housing practice leader at CohnReznick, knew Copeman for many years, first as a competitor when he was at Ernst & Young and then later as partners in the same accounting firm.
They both testified before the Financial Accounting Standards Board about tax credit investments. “Getting the right accounting treatment was key to corporations being more involved in the LIHTC industry, and Fred was absolutely a key part of that,” says Mullen.
Affordable housing, she says, was a passion for Copeman.
“Fred was a true leader as well as a great friend and colleague to all of us at Boston Financial,” says Greg Voyentzie, CEO at Boston Financial. “He was a mentor to many, loved by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him, and was an industry icon. Fred made the tax credit industry his life's work, and his accomplishments helped shape the industry as we know it today. We will miss him immensely and send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Copeman gave his time to a number of industry organizations, including the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition (AHTCC), where he was an active member of the board.
“He was a deeply engaged advocate and a fixture in our committees and working groups, always eager to share his expertise on everything from the most technical matters to the long-term positioning of the affordable housing industry,” according to the AHTCC. “Most recently, he developed a proposal to help sustain housing credit investment in light of delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which gained immediate support in Congress and passed the House of Representatives in July of 2020.”