How many performance standards can you think of? Well, we have (of course) GIPS(R) (Global Investment Performance Standards), the AIMR-PPS(R) (no longer valid), UKIPS (no longer valid), several other country standards (which are no longer valid), the BAI (Bank Administration Institute) standards, and the ICAA (Investment Council Association of America; now the Investment Adviser Association)) standards.
But when people generally think about performance standards, what usually comes to mind? Chances are your answer will be GIPS, right? And so, many folks who want to know what the “rules” are will turn to GIPS, even though they don’t necessarily apply.
We see this in so many sectors of our industry, from brokerage to pension funds, from custodians to consultants. The question “are you compliant?” when directed to custodians and software vendors has long been identified as an inappropriate one to pose, but pose it many people do.
We’re doing a project for a service provider whose clients are asking if their fee calculation is “GIPS compliant.” Well, it is and isn’t, but that’s not important: what’s important is the question, “why does it matter?” The output from this provider isn’t used by asset managers. Granted, GIPS may often be seen as “best practice,” but their rules don’t always apply.
Life in performance can be confusing, yes?