Buy-side to gain new voice as ICI Global unfurls banner

ICI Global, a new London-based trade organisation designed to focus on buy-side issues, has gone live with its mission to represent the perspective of globally active funds.
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ICI Global, a new London-based trade organisation designed to focus on buy-side issues, has gone live with its mission to represent the perspective of globally active funds.

Launched by the Investment Company Institute (ICI), an association of US investment companies, ICI Global will include regulated US and non-US based funds worldwide, making it the first industry body of its kind with an exclusively global purpose.

“The buy-side voice needs to be louder – we’re typically under-represented at a global level and that needs to change,” said Dan Waters, managing director of ICI Global and former director of asset management policy at UK regulator the Financial Services Authority.

Areas of interest for the group will include OTC derivatives reform, disclosure requirements, global custody, transparency in financial markets, the operation of dark pools, the impact of the US Dodd-Frank Act, the European market infrastructure regulation and equivalent Asian legislation. Jamie Broderick, head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management in Europe, will chair ICI Global’s Steering Committee, which sets the group’s agenda and determines its stance on global issues.

The organisation has also set out four categories on which it intends to provoke dialogue with international regulators. It aims to advocate to policy-makers policies that promote funds as long-term investing vehicles. The four categories of advocacy are: the role of funds and fund managers in financial stability; key transnational regulatory developments for funds; global trading and market structure policy developments; and reforms to retirement savings and pension systems.

“Our purpose is to focus on the global issues,” said Waters. “We want to present policy-makers with real solutions at a global level.”

While regional industry bodies already exist – the Investment Management Association in the UK, or the Association of Fund Managers in Europe, for example – Waters insists the new body is complimentary, not competitive, to existing organisations.

“We are not stepping on the existing regional bodies or interfering in their area,” he said. “We will focus on global issues that need a global solution and we are happy to work together with those regional organisations to help achieve that.”

Fund management groups that have already expressed plans to join ICI Global include Capital Research and Management, Federated Investors Funds, Franklin Templeton Investments, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Invesco, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Legg Mason, Nuveen Investments, PIMCO Funds, T. Rowe Price, Threadneedle and Vanguard.

ICI Global will also draw on all of ICI’s Washington D.C. based resources, including the organisation’s legal, regulatory, research, communications and fund industry operations teams. ICI’s US member funds serve 90 million investors and manage assets of US$12.5 trillion, representing 98% of the US fund market and nearly half of the US$25.6 trillion worldwide fund market, according to the group’s own figures. Yet Waters was keen to emphasise that the new organisation should be seen as a global partnership, based on global participation.

“It’s absolutely not the intention for this to be a US-led organisation,” he said. “It’s crucial to us that we have a balanced set of members, with fair representation for all.”