The Association of Professional Fund Investors, APFI, has launched a membership drive as it seeks to build on plans to become the key representative body of fund selectors globally.
The Association is defining professionals in this context as those "whose focus is the research, analysis and investment in the products of the asset management industry."
"Colloquially, the role is known as: fund gatekeepers, fund buyers, manager research and due diligence analysts and fund selectors. The Association uses the term 'fund' in the broadest of contexts to include products generally managed by asset management organisations - whether they are commingled in a fund format or segregated accounts makes no difference nor does the underlying investment approach."
The Association has also listed the membership benefits that it is offering to new members:
- Professional recognition - APFI members commit themselves to be models for the industry by upholding the highest standards of our profession. Membership in the APFI is a tangible recognition of your commitment to excellence.
- Accreditation- Members holding a CFA, CAIA, CIMA, or CIPM and with three years good standing in our profession are eligible for the ‘Accredited Professional Fund Investor' or ‘APFI' designation. Read more at: https://profundinvestors.org/accreditation/.
- Conference access - The APFI collaborates with industry events worldwide to tailor content and coordinate gratis registration and even speaking access for APFI members (members should inform the APFI separately of their willingness/interest in speaking at events so we can keep you abreast of potential opportunities).
- Peer networking - The APFI provides a way to connect and learn from your peers, engaging in a global conversation on best practices and industry trends.
- Media presence - The APFI provides a collective voice for our profession to the media, to shape the public conversation on issues of concern in our industry. We collaborate with media outlets worldwide to ensure the voice of our profession is included in the global dialogue of our industry.
- Regulatory voice - The APFI provides a collective voice for our profession to national and supranational regulators, independent from the commercial voice of the companies of our industry. By coordinating input from our members to regulatory bodies we strengthen our collective voice in shaping the rules of our industry.
- Benefits coming soon:
- Service provider discounts and reviews - The APFI intranet (i.e. accessible only to APFI members) will allow APFI members to list and review industry tools and services. Where such services charge allocators for access, the APFI will attempt to negotiate discounts for APFI members. APFI members will then be empowered to post reviews and engage in a conversation on these providers, including how they do (or do not) help them in due diligence, information gathering, etc.
- Public member directory - The APFI will maintain a public directory (names, location, and organization only - no contact information) of APFI members. Accredited ‘APFIs' will be further highlighted.
- Internal member directory - The APFI will establish an internal directory where APFI members can provide more information on themselves and areas of interest to connect professionally (and without fear of being marketed to) with other APFI members worldwide. Contact access will be only via an internal messaging app and the APFI will enforce strict penalties on using the internal APFI directory for unwanted commercial contacts.
- Manager reference checks & other allocator networking - The APFI intranet will allow for APFI members to anonymously post queries about managers, PMs, funds, etc. facilitating member-to-member introductions in order to conduct reference checks and to carry on other bespoke due diligence directly (i.e. offline).
Adam Choppin, APFI Board of Directors chairman, and APFI lead for the US region, said: "The APFI provides the venue for allocators to engage in a global peer-to-peer conversation that has no equal in the world today. The existing such venues are either commercially driven or other associations that are too broad to sufficiently meet the needs of the global allocator community - ie, fund buyers, consultants, pension funds, multi-managers, etc."
"As the only global professional association comprised exclusively of allocators/fund investors, the APFI is unique in its ability to help make linkages among our colleagues, while staying completely free of commercial interests. The APFI enables our members to share ideas and best practices, connect to discuss fund managers and co-investments, learn about the latest industry tools and services, while also amplifying the collective voice of our profession to the media and regulatory bodies."
The membership has been set at $100 annually, although those seeking membership are vetted to verify their elegibility. Only once verified can the registration be completed and payment made.
Also highlighted is the APFI Member Charter, which applicants are expected to commit to in order to pursue successful membership. This includes:
- To put the interests of my clients, my employer, and my profession above my own personal interests in the execution of my professional duties;
- To do no harm to the reputation of the asset management industry or of the profession of fund investing and to encourage others to do the same;
- Not to accept any gifts, bribes, commissions, inducements, or anything of value that would affect my professional judgement;
- To avoid conflicts of interest whenever possible, and where conflicts of interest cannot be avoided, or where the appearance of conflicts of interest may exist, to always disclose such conflicts in writing to clients or stakeholders of my professional opinions;
- To exercise my duties based on my informed judgement and not to be swayed merely by fads, marketing materials, or referrals;
- To always take in due consideration cost differences between equally suitable investment options.