AIMA CEO end of year message
I am pleased to present our Global Review of the Year for 2020.
I am proud of what AIMA has achieved in assisting our members during these challenging times and very pleased to have welcomed so many new members to our association this year. Moments like this are when a trade body needs to show its worth and I believe AIMA has shown just why our members value us so highly. 2020 is one of those years that will be hard to forget.
The ravages of COVID-19 forced us all to change the way we work, and our industry proved itself resoundingly resilient under difficult circumstances.
I pay tribute to Simon Lorne, who stood down as our Chair in September after four years in the role. He and his fellow AIMA Council members have been so instrumental in guiding AIMA’s continued growth and determining our priorities for the benefit of members. He is ably succeeded by Karl Wachter to take us further forward. I was especially pleased to report to him that October was a record month for new members joining AIMA.
Chief Executive Officer, AIMA
Of course, we have not been able to host events in person, which have always been a mainstay of content and connectivity. Nevertheless, we have held more than 250 virtual events globally across EMEA, the Americas and Asia-Pacific with a total of 22,000 attendees. What is remarkable is that attendance has remained consistently high throughout the year despite what is no doubt a sense of screen fatigue. What this shows is a continued thirst for knowledge which AIMA can share though carefully crafted agendas within these events.
In many ways, the virtual world enables us to reach the broadest audience of our membership in a unique and efficient manner. In this way we were able to combine our normal regional investor events into one Global Investor Forum, thereby bringing allocators and managers from around the world into a single place. We found that alternative investments are seeing reinforced interest from investors as they seek risk-adjusted returns and diversification away from low interest bonds and high valued equities.
Regulators around the world have been keen to understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on firms’ operations. Through our well-timed member survey, we were able to demonstrate that our industry adapted incredibly well to remote working. The lessons learned were compiled in our publication Agile & Resilient which proved very popular as a benchmark resource for members.
Market turmoil in March led several countries to impose short-selling bans. AIMA strongly opposed these and we shared extensive material demonstrating such bans do not achieve their stated aims. Our efforts helped prevent these bans spreading to other countries and led to an understanding that brought existing bans to an end. That market turmoil also saw dislocation in the bond markets with the finger being pointed at leveraged hedge funds. Through our work with the FSB, IOSCO, ESRB, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of England we are able to show there are many more factors at play in determining the cause of these market events.
The end of this year sees the UK finally leave the EU and we have been assisting members prepare for this new existence with the minimum disruption to their business models. We have also collected member views that can inform the future framework of the UK regulatory regime.
Guidance and Thought Leadership
As always, members appreciate seeing the collective thoughts and processes of industry firms distilled into our sound practice guides. This year we have added to our extensive library with guides to business continuity management, operational risk management and the use of platforms. As I look at the most downloaded resources from AIMA’s website I see that once again our manager DDQ is the most accessed and this has been supplemented with our D&I questionnaire created this year jointly with Albourne Partners. Elsewhere our Casting the Net publication on the use of alternative data, proved very popular while our quarterly AIMA Journal continues to be widely read.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has strengthened the resolve of governments to tackle climate change and that this is impacting how savings are to be managed. AIMA has developed substantial resources and guides this year to assist members as they consider the integration of ESG risk factors into their investment processes. The specific ESG webinars we have put on this year have seen consistently high demand.
On behalf of us all at AIMA I would like to extend our sincere thanks to our members and sponsoring partners for their support and collaboration.
We are a mutual membership organisation and the input of individuals from our member firms in all our work streams ensures that our output is the best that it can be.
We work continuously to deliver value to our members.
Supporting you is our priority.