White Paper: The GIPS Standards for Asset Owners

October 25, 2018

The popularity and worldwide adoption of the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS® standards) by investment management firms is largely due to demand by asset owners. In order to trust investment performance when hiring an outsourced manager, asset owners increasingly require investment managers to comply with the GIPS standards. Through these interactions, asset owners have come to understand the importance of one global, ethical set of standards for performance measurement calculation and presentation and want to apply the same principles to their own performance reporting. As a result of the increased transparency and due diligence on the part of asset owners, we are seeing a growing interest in attaining GIPS compliance among the asset-owner community. In the past, GIPS compliance for asset owners was difficult because there was no interpretive guidance for how the GIPS standards should be applied to their structure. To address this, on September 16, 2014, the GIPS Standards Executive Committee approved the Guidance Statement on the Application of the GIPS Standards to Asset Owners (“Guidance Statement”). The GIPS Standards Executive Committee took further action on August 16, 2017, and released an updated version of the Guidance Statement. With an effective date of January 1, 2018, the Guidance Statement permits asset owners to claim GIPS compliance with only one (1) year of compliant data instead of five (5) years, while still building towards ten (10) years of compliant data.

Now that asset owners are permitted to bring just one year into compliance, we expect to see a greater uptake in the number of asset owners claiming GIPS compliance. Additionally, asset owners increasingly are claiming GIPS compliance for the following reasons:

  • The desire to hold themselves to the same standards as their external managers 
  • The need to provide full and transparent performance information and related disclosures in line with industry best practices to the public and oversight board and
  • An improved compliance framework inclusive of standardized policies and procedures related to performance

The purpose of this whitepaper is to identify key areas of focus for asset owners when seeking to become GIPS compliant, to identify requirements that are different for asset owners as compared to investment managers, to provide a guide for an asset owner to become GIPS compliant, and to provide answers to commonly asked questions.

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