Due Diligence Questionnaires

For more than 20 years, AIMA has been providing guidance and standardisation for its members around the world in the form of Due Diligence Questionnaires (DDQs). 


AIMA's DDQs assist a) investors in assessing the fund investments they might make and b) fund managers in their choice of service providers, directors and boards of those funds.   The first AIMA DDQ - for investors conducting due diligence on hedge fund managers - was published in 1997.   It was a response to requests from investors for a standardised set of questions.   Since then, the DDQs have gone on to become the industry-standard template. The AIMA DDQs can be downloaded by AIMA members below.


Q: When will the 2019 versions of the Investment Manager DDQ modules be available to use and will I be able to access them?

A: The revised versions of the modules included in the Illustrative Questionnaire for the Due Diligence of Investment Managers that AIMA has been consulting with members on over the last several months will be available for members in good standing to use from 7 February 2019.  They will be accessible from the DDQ modules table below.  Members in good standing may continue to use the 2017 versions if they prefer and those will still be accessible through a link that will be provided in these FAQS.

To be a member in good standing, a member must have paid its 2019 renewal invoice or become a new member in 2019.  AIMA will be shutting off website access for any members that have not paid their 2019 renewal invoice by 6 February.  Access to the website will be restored upon subsequent payment of the 2019 renewal notice. In the interim members not yet in good standing for 2019 will not have access to the revised Investment Manager DDQ modules or any other materials on the AIMA website.

If you are not a member in good standing, please note that you are no longer eligible under the Terms of Use for all AIMA DDQs to use the AIMA branding on your existing DDQs and you are not eligible under the Terms of Use to access or use any of the AIMA DDQ templates to create new DDQs.

 


OTHER DDQ FAQs

How do the 2019 modules from the Investment Manager DDQ differ from the 2017 versions?

The changes made include: 

  • Moving certain instructions to the end of the document to all users to delete them before finalising the document, making the presentation to investors that bit shorter;
  • Moving the Explanations, Assumptions box to the end of the questions table as this is perhaps a more natural place to see things that would normally be included as disclaimers, etc.;
  • Inserting in the first column options for the user to signal that a question row is not applicable (“N/A”) or that additional information related to that question row has been included in the area for this at the end of each module (“More”) or, where applicable, that a table identified in the response options has been omitted from the template (this removal now being permitted without needing to remove the AIMA branding if the user ticks the “Table omitted” option;
  • Where there used to be drop down choices for the availability of certain documents, the option choices have been transformed into tick box lists to allow for the option to specify where requests for documents are to be made if the user has selected “Available on request” and to specify the website address if documents are to be available that way;
  • Adding options where users can signal that dependent nested questions that follow a gating question have been omitted rather than simply left blank and selecting this option (and omitting the relevant rows from the template) will not affect the ability to retain the branding while making the presentation document that much shorter;
  • Adding a place after each data table for notes on the table;
  • Adding a link at the bottom of long tables to return users to the top of the table; and
  • Several questions in the Strategy Details module have been omitted or amended, along with the relevant data tables where applicable.

Will blacklines showing the differences between the 2017 and 2019 versions of the modules in the Investment Manager DDQ be available?

Yes, a blackline of the changes made to each of the individual modules will be made available. 

Why is it useful for there to be a standardised set of questions?

Standardised questions help investors compare like-for-like when they receive responses from multiple managers. Managers like standardised questions because it reduces the amount of work they have to do and helps them reassure investors that they are all receiving the same information.  Even in the absence of an investor request for information, a standard set of questions can be helpful for new managers who are seeking to assess their own practices against industry standards.

Who uses the DDQ and how does it fit into the overall DD process?

The AIMA hedge fund manager DDQs are used by investors from all around the world and by many of AIMA’s manager members.  For investors, the DDQ is an early step in the due diligence process but by no means is it the last step. Investors use the information they get from the responses to these questions to develop areas of focus for further questions and discussion with managers and to cross check information from other sources.

The DDQ for investment managers has multiple modules. What is the easiest way for me to get started?

In situations where the investment manager is managing open-end funds, the easiest place to start is the Basic Open-End Setup and then add or replace modules as needed. Similarly, if the investment manager is managing closed-end funds, the easiest place to start is the Basic Closed-End Setup. Platform providers should start with the Basic Platform Provider Setup. Third party sub-advisory relationships should start with the Basic Sub-Adviser Setup. If the sub-advisory relationship is with an affiliate, however, consideration might be given as to whether it makes sense to discuss the sub-adviser as part of the “investment manager” for purposes of the modules regarding the investment manager. For Canadian Alternative Mutual Funds, UCITS and U.S. mutual funds, the Liquid Alternaitves Fund DDQ may be the easiest place to start.

When should investors anticipate being able to get information from most managers on this new form?

The new form is in a substantially different format from the prior versions and contains lots of questions. AIMA anticipates it will take most managers time to work through the new form and fill it in. It is reasonable to expect that investment managers will begin using the new form in 2018 or 2019.

How do the Short Form Manager Module and Short Form Fund Module relate to the other modules in the Illustrative Questionnaire for the Due Diligence of Investment Managers?

The Short Form Manager Module represents a condensed version of the following three modules from the Illustrative Questionnaire for the Due Diligence of Investment Managers:
  • Overview;
  • Governance of the Investment Manager; and
  • Operations and Risk Management,
and can be used in lieu of those modules.
The Short Form Fund Module represents a condensed version of the Open-End Private Fund Module and can be used in lieu of that module for open-end private funds and should be used in lieu of that module for any liquid alternatives funds.
Investors receiving information on one of these short forms should consider whether and to what extent they need or want more information than has been provided.
 

How will DDQ platforms verify whether my firm is an AIMA member and what happens to DDQs completed on the platform if my firm is no longer a member?

AIMA has licensed the DDQs for use on a variety of third party platforms.  These platforms are required to verify that any use through the platforms is in line with the applicable Terms of Use.  This means that platform providers will be seeking validation from AIMA that either the platform user (the investor in the case of investor push systems or the manager in manager push systems).  The platform provider will send us the relevant firm name by email and we will respond with whether the firm is a member or not.  If not a member, the platform provider will be required to deny access to the AIMA DDQ templates through the platform.

We will also notify the applicable platform providers when a previously verified user subsequently chooses not to renew.  This will mean that the platform provider will be required to discontinue future access to the template documents, although previously distributed forms of the DDQ completed during the period of membership are permitted to be maintained.