London, 20th October 2015 – The 19th Annual Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) Conference was held in sunny San Diego last month, a refreshing change from its usual venue of Boston (where it returns next year).
Clearly it was the agenda, rather than the location, that was the appeal this year and provided the best ever attendance at the event with around 400 delegates. Whilst the vast majority of these were American, there is an ever increasing global presence and it was good to see a strong contingent of fellow Brits.
The opening address was given by Paul Smith who has been CEO of CFA Institute since the beginning of 2015. He is the first CEO to attend the GIPS conference and, clearly, is a strong advocate of GIPS; promising to allocate additional resources to what he described as the most successful endeavour of CFA Institute.
Not much has changed over the last year with respect to GIPS, but the one item that is noteworthy is the new requirement for firms to notify CFA of their compliance. This has been a discussion point for several years and, finally, came into force for 2015. A few statistics were provided and more will hopefully follow. Of the 1,572 firms currently claiming compliance, the vast majority (around 1,300) are US registered with the UK claiming second spot. Also noteworthy is the fact that 85% of these 1,572 firms are verified, proving that verification is very much norm.
With respect to the future of GIPS, a number of initiatives are underway but there is no plan for a new version of GIPS (as was the case for 2005 and 2010). There are a number of guidance statements on the horizon, but with the current process for these it is difficult for CFA to provide a definitive timetable. However, the first three should be within the next twelve months.
The Pooled Fund Advertising Guidelines have had a long and rough ride, predominantly due to the diversity of existing regulations around the globe covering these investments. However, the group have made great progress and a document should be issued before the end of the year.
The portability guidance statement should be available by Q1 2016 to assist the multitude of firms having undergone M&A activity and a revised guidance statement on supplemental information should follow that and, hopefully, will appear during the course of 2016.
Another project that is underway covers overlay strategies, where the definition of assets under management has always proved contentious and another group is being brought together to cover guidance on benchmarks.
A word of warning, though. These guidance statements were discussed by panellists at the conference and there have been a number of articles and blogs following the conference which have attempted to provide insight. Some of the articles and interpretations I have found to be quite misleading. The fact is that until the guidance statements are issued, nothing has changed, so please do not change your policies and procedures on what is essentially hearsay.
The conference covered a number of other interesting topics such as fees, active share and client reporting. Helpdesk sessions rounded off each day providing the audience with the opportunity to get an immediate answer to some tricky questions. It’s not always easy to be put on the spot and, with the questions being written rather than verbal (sometimes by what may have been an illiterate spider), the helpdesk team did as good a job as was humanly possible in providing insight.
Overall an informative and enjoyable event, and so we hope to see you in Boston next ‘fall’.
Anthony joined Teknometry in September 2014 to spearhead the development and launch of our new GIPS Composite Administration Management solution, TekGAM, which was announced in April this year.