Performance Perspectives Blog

Cui bono: mixing a little Latin with performance measurement

by | Feb 22, 2016


How a Latin phrase makes its way into performance measurement

On my way to conduct a GIPS(R) verification, I was listening to Buckley and Mailer: The Difficult Friendship That Shaped the Sixties, by Kevin M. Schultz. As the book’s title suggests, it’s about two famous intellectuals, who, though polar opposites politically, were very good friends (kind of reminds me of my relationship with Carl Bacon: although we disagree on quite a bit, we are good friends). At one point the author quotes Mailer, who used the Latin term cui bono, which means “who benefits.” While the term is frequently used by lawyers, it has applicability to performance measurement, too!

Performance measurement and cui bono applicability

I’ll be doing a talk this week on GIPS examinations, challenging their value, and so, the timing of coming across this term is ideal, as I’ll use it during the class.

Cui bono from performance examinations? Clearly the verifier, as they reap additional revenue. As a firm that conducts lots of verifications, we would surely benefit from more performance examinations. Problem is, we talk our clients out of them, as we believe they have little value.

Let’s also consider quarterly verifications: cui bono? Clearly, again, it’s the verifier, as they’re able to keep their staff busy throughout the year. You’d think that quarterly means more frequent verifications, so that your records are up-to-date in a more timely manner; however, that’s not the case. Often, verification firms that promote quarterly are many quarters (and in some cases, a few years) behind schedule.

In terms of compliance, cui bono? The firm, no doubt, as it provides them with greater opportunities to grow, helps them strengthen their policies and procedures, provides their prospects with more and better information, and arguably makes the firm better off when it comes to dealing with regulators. How about verifications? Same: the firm, as they provide greater confidence that they are truly compliant, and helps them gain new business.

A good question, I believe: cui bono?

Note: I’ll repeat my talk on examinations as a webinar shortly; you’ll be notified, and we hope you’ll join in. Cui bono? Hopefully you!

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