Performance Perspectives Blog

PMAR VIII Highlights

by | May 26, 2010

Our 8th annual Performance Measurement, Attribution & Risk conference was held last week in Jersey City, NJ. And while Jersey City might not seem like a “dream location” for a conference, the Hyatt turned out to be a superb venue. From our conference room we could see the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. On the second day many of the attendees chose to eat their lunch outside, taking in the warm weather and the delightful views.

The event also provided a great venue for the sharing of insights, information and ideas. Risk was a major theme throughout the event. With the market continuous volatility and recent downturn, ways to wrap our arms around risk remain an important topic.

For me, two of the highlights came from conversations I had with a couple attendees. One, a verifier for a “big four” firm, acknowledged his frustration with GIPS(R) (Global Investment Performance Standards) firms that conduct remote verifications. He is a reader of our blog and voiced support for my stand opposing this practice. The second, a quite knowledgeable industry veteran, voiced opposition to the heightened attention examinations are receiving. And while some believe these audits are of value, many of us see little relation to the GIPS standards. It’s gratifying to hear support for ones ideas from others in such a candid fashion.

Speaking of GIPS, Jonathan Boersma, Executive Director of GIPS at the CFA Institute Centre for Financial Market Integrity and member of the GIPS Executive Committee, delivered a presentation on the upcoming changes (GIPS 2010). We could have allowed an hour for Q&A and still would have needed more time, no doubt.

As always, we had a handful of new speakers as well as several PMAR veterans. We welcomed back David Tittsworth of the Investment Adviser Association, who provided us with our regular session on regulatory matters. We’ve been fortunate that every time we’ve had this topic, we’ve enjoyed a speaker who is both a skilled orator as well as one who interjects humor into their presentations.

Kyle Ringrose delivered a challenging talk, in that he was the late Damien Laker’s stand-in for the keynote address. Damien won the 2009 Dietz Award; each year the recipient is given the opportunity to give a keynote address at PMAR, in order to share their ideas from their winning article. Obviously, Damien couldn’t make it and so we called upon Kyle, a colleague of Damien’s.

On June 8-9 we will hold our first PMAR conference in Europe. At this event Carl Bacon will take on the task of delivering the keynote address on behalf of Damien. For Carl, that will no doubt be easier than his other chore, which will be to debate me on money vs. time-weighting at our Battle Royale! We are expecting a very good crowd for this inaugural event and are looking forward to crossing the pond to join them for this program.

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