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Outsourcing: What fund managers & investors need to know and why AI will test the limits - Cayman Roundtable

 

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Many of the most successful businesses in the world operate on a highly outsourced model. After some initial skepticism, outsourcing has now also fully arrived in active fund management, with core management, IT and compliance functions outsourced to knowledgeable service providers. Hedge funds were early adopters of outsourcing (which can be charged back to investors) which is becoming more prevalent in private equity as well. While right now we may still hear conversations like, "As now you are at XXX million, so you should have your full-time CFO or your full-time IT or compliance people in place," over time those thresholds will further shift from where they used to be to a situation where outsourced people in certain roles will become the norm.

Artificial Intelligence to test the limits of outsourcing

When it comes to artificial intelligence, the questions around outsourcing are reaching a new dimension and tend to confound every current practice and legal considerations. We know that some managers have invested enormously in this technology. From a legal perspective, are those managers now outsourcing responsibility to a robot? A robot has no legal personality itself and therefore cannot be sued (as well as presumably not having assets). Presumably any claim or investigation would be against the manager, perhaps on the basis of negligence. And where two robots interact with each other on each side of a transaction there will be other interesting questions (page 25).

"Cayman Model" still hugely successful despite increase in regulation, CIMA now empowered to fine

In 2018 the number of Cayman registered funds grew from 10,559 to 10,992, and also in 2019 there are further increases in new registrations. CIMA has also to date registered around 80 mutual funds whose strategies include investing in cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, Fintech, outperforming or replicating the performance of cryptocurrencies and indices related to crypto assets. This 4% uptick in Cayman funds is very positive in light of other surveys which revealed that the number of total funds is declining globally with the maturity of the industry and continued consolidation.

Industry players also say that CIMA's empowerment to impose a range of administrative fines is to be welcomed, in that it allows CIMA to apply a more nuanced and proportionate approach than had previously been the case. Stakeholders in other jurisdictions have long since taken regulators' ability to fine for granted as a basic element of the regulatory toolbox. Find out in this Roundtable how and when CIMA expects to impose fines.

The Opalesque 2019 Cayman Islands Roundtable took place in George Town with:

  1. Juliette Maynard, Deputy Head Investments Supervision Division, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)
  2. Caroline Heal, Partner, Investment Funds Attorney, Walkers
  3. Lucy Frew, Partner, Head of Regulatory & Risk Advisory, Walkers
  4. Craig Smith, Partner, PwC Cayman Islands
  5. Ronan Guilfoyle, Co-Founder, Calderwood
The group also discussed:
  • CIMA's Statement of Guidance on Outsourcing (page 11-12)
  • Criteria for outsourcing anti money laundering compliance (page 16). What does a "risk-based" regulatory approach really mean? (page 13-14)
  • Applying the AML framework to private equity vehicles (page 16-17)
  • The challenge of auditing valuation and ownership of digital assets (page 19-20). Digital AML certifications (page 18)
  • Which types of hedge funds and managers dealt best with the challenging markets of 2018 (page 21-22)
  • How managed accounts can save a fund manager's business (page 22)
  • Why Brexit is harder for banks to deal with than for managers. Why for UK managers with Cayman Islands funds Brexit could be advantageous (page 23)
  • Artificial intelligence, robots advisors and digital upskilling (page 23-25)

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