The ILA Investment Fund Committee is now chaired by Andrea Montresori, a partner in PwC’s Asset and Wealth Management practice. He has taken over from his PwC colleague Mike Delano, who has just reached the term limit set for all ILA working committees. We sat down with them to review how fund governance in Luxembourg has changed over the last decade, and to see what’s on the agenda.
“One of the changes I have seen during my time with the committee is that directors have a deep understanding of their responsibilities and liabilities, including personal liability,” said Mike. “This has been necessary, as the role of the director has changed dramatically as the complexity of the business and products has grown,” he added. With increasingly sophisticated Lux funds regularly being sold into dozens of jurisdictions, this is not an easy role.
“Boards now routinely seek out best governance practice, with directors more willing than ever to ensure they are equipped to face these challenges,” he said. The proliferation of events and courses on AML, ESG, cyber and so on are testament to this growing dynamic. The change has been driven to a large extent by the increase in regulation which puts boards and governance structures as the centre of considerations.
Mike sees the Luxembourg ecosystem being increasingly keen to embrace these challenges, helped by ILA. “The information that ILA puts out, including the courses, has helped bring the industry where we needed to be,” he said. For example, the inaugural Fund Governance Masterclass has just completed, in which 60 local experts (including from the CSSF) gave high level, targeted training. Registration will open soon for the next course starting in October. The regular Fund Governance Survey is also an important contributor to industry awareness, not least as it enables boards to benchmark their governance practices against their peers.
“The regulator has changed dramatically, with a different attitude and openness,” said Mike. He praised the willingness of the asset management team at the CSSF to come to speak to directors to explain their thinking. This feedback is a key part of the annual ILA/PwC Fund Day, which has grown to such an extent that registrations had to be closed early this year.
Andrea has been part of the Investment Fund Committee for four years and is excited about the challenge of maintaining the momentum. “There is a clear upward learning curve for fund directors, thanks to the work Mike and his committee have put in over the years organising events and training when needed,” he said. “ILA has responded well to fund directors’ aspirations and I want to continue contributing in that way,” he added.
With this in mind, particular effort has been put into ensuring the new Investment Fund Committee has the required expertise and diversity to ensure it can continue to deliver at the highest possible level. Feedback will also continue to come from the ILA Fund Directors' Forum, the body that gives an added voice to members over a range of topics.
“It's been a fantastic experience and very interesting,” said Mike in conclusion. “Continuing to be relevant for the directors’ community and listening to what they need will remain the focus of the group,” Andrea added.