Alternative Investment Management Association
12 May 2008
The Cayman hedge fund community and representatives of the wider financial services sector came together this week as the first Interactive Forum from the Cayman Islands chapter of AIMA (Alternative Investment Management Association) proved to be a great success with a lively debate on the need for a director’s code of conduct.
Taking place at the Hollywood Theatre in Camana Bay on Thursday April 3rd, it was standing room only as over 250 people packed into Cinema One for what was not just the first event of this kind in Cayman, but a first for any chapter of AIMA worldwide.
Taking part in the AIMA Forum were Tim Ridley, chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) and Gary Linford, former head of CIMA’s Investments and Securities Division and now a director of DMTC Group. The ‘Presidential Style’ debate was moderated by Mark Lewis, senior investment funds partner with Walkers.
With the Cayman Islands being the globally recognised jurisdiction of choice for the registration of hedge funds and an increasing trend towards the use of independent directors on Cayman funds, there has been significant interest in this fast growing business. Specifically, this interest has centred on the type of regulation that would be appropriate for independent directors and whether this activity should be regulated by CIMA or if a Code of Conduct and greater self regulation by a Director’s Association should be promoted.
Among the general themes coming out of the debate were that considering the size and scope of Cayman’s hedge fund industry, which is close to recording 10,000 active funds, the actual instances of directors acting improperly are quite small. It was also felt that AIMA along with the newly formed Cayman Islands Directors Association have an important role to play in terms of education and training, particularly AIMA, given the specialist duties of an independent hedge fund director.
The interactive nature of the forum allowed audience members to submit questions for the moderator to raise. Among the issues covered were the appropriate number of directorships for any one person to hold, as well as the standards that international regulators expect of independent directors and the types of conflicts of interest that prevent a director from being truly independent. After the presentation, attendees continued the debate on the rooftop terrace of Ernst & Young’s Camana Bay headquarters, enjoying the sunset with cocktails and appetisers.
AIMA also demonstrated its commitment towards supporting education locally by inviting 12 students to the event from the Offshore Finance course at the University College of the Cayman Islands.
“Our first AIMA Forum generated great interest both among the local financial industry and internationally, which is a testament to the depth of experience of our presenters and the importance of this issue,” said AIMA Chairman Andy Stepaniuk. “While there was some agreement on many of the topics discussed, the lively nature of the debate showed that this is certainly an area that the industry needs to devote more attention to in the future.”