Frequently asked questions

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What is a buy-side COO?
The Chief Operating Officer at a fund management firm, which can be either long-only, or short-only, or a mixture of the two.
What do COOs do?
Being a COO was once defined as doing all the stuff that nobody else wants to do; matching investors with investment strategies and structures, financing the business, mitigating risk, managing relationships with counterparties, dealing with prime brokers, fund administrators and data vendors, procuring management services, choosing and building technology platforms, ensuring compliance with regulations, running the middle and back office and settling roles and compensation.
How will COOConnect help COOs?
COO is a demanding job, rich in responsibilities and fraught with risk, and who better to share those risks and responsibilities with than your fellow COOs? The entire point and purpose of the COOConnect peer group network is to provide a secure and fully supported member-driven organisation where COOs can share knowledge, experience, opinions and information about the challenges, great and small, that they face each and every day at the office.
Who can belong to COOConnect?
Accredited buy-side COOs only. Membership is closed to service providers and vendors. Open networks cannot offer the confidentiality that alone can encourage the free exchange of information. They also run the risk of being captured by vendors. COOConnect will eliminate these risks by restricting its membership to buy-side COOs. No vendors and sell-side service providers will ever be entitled to become members. If members wish to consult them through the network, they will – but on their terms only, and usually at a discount too.
What does it cost to belong to COOConnect?
For accredited buy-side COOS, nothing at all: membership is free. Of course, the many benefits of COOConnect still have to be paid for, but in ways that do not compromise the integrity of the concept: a genuinely independent peer group network for buy-side COOs, with no entry for the sell-side, except on terms set by the membership.
What services does COOConnect offer to its members?
The principal benefit of membership will be the opportunity to share knowledge and experience with industry peers, in a variety of ways, without ever losing control of the information that is being shared. No firm is excellent in every sphere, so every firm has something to learn from others. By sharing knowledge and experience, COOConnect members will save themselves time and money, by getting to the best solution to a particular problem much more quickly and cheaply than by using the alternative method of in-house research or external consultancy. The principal means of sharing knowledge will be through the COOConnect information forum and warehouse, but
What is the COOConnect information forum and warehouse?
It is a secure on-line platform open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering members access to all other members of COOConnect. It offers daily updated news from COOConnect, plus tools that enable members to post and update their personal profile, build and manage contact address books, write, store and sort notes to themselves and peers, post news and opinion and solicit feedback from members, and track the activity of selected peers across the network. The principal purpose of the forum and warehouse is to enable members to ask questions of other members on a disclosed or anonymous basis, using instant messaging, e-mail and even structured survey tools. Circulation can be restricted by membership criteria, such as size of AuM or geographical location, or investment strategy. The forum also stores the history of all queries and correspondence. It enables users to set up private or public groups and sub-groups, and post and store documents for discussion by those groups. Importantly, every questioner and every respondent will be verified by the peer group network as a member of COOConnect.
Will members of COOConnect have the opportunity to meet face to face?
Yes. COOConnect intends to establish both an annual global meeting of members and regional meetings of members in each of Asia, Europe and North America. The annual meeting, open to the full member¬ship of the organisa¬tion, will provide an opportunity for COOs to meet their peers in a structured environ¬ment, and hear views on current trends and practical solutions to current issues from carefully selected third party vendors, opinion formers and industry leaders. Meetings of the full member¬ship of the organisa¬tion in each of the three main regions of the world—Asia, Europe and North America—will be an opportunity for COOs to discuss industry trends and issues with regional peers, assisted by carefully selected third parties. Both the annual and re¬gional meetings will be open by invitation only to all COOCon¬nect members.
Will COOConnect run webinars?
Yes. COOConnect will host and moder¬ate webinars to illuminate issues of interest to COOs pro-posed by members, inviting panellists to present and discuss topics, and answer questions posed online by COOs. Webinars will also be stored online so that members can listen to them or read summaries after the event. They will be open to members of COOConnect only. Where appropriate, webinars may be sponsored.
Will COOConnect run educational seminars?
Yes. COOConnect will host occasional education¬al seminars where COOs can be briefed on topics of immedi¬ate or practical inter¬est by acknowledged experts in any given field, giving members the opportunity to put questions di¬rectly to speakers. Members will suggest topics, and briefing materials, minutes and contact details will be circulated to all members after the event. They will be open to members of COOConnect only. Where appropriate, some or al of an educational seminar may be sponsored.
What is an expert panel?
This is a panel of experts on a particular topic of current or enduring interest to COOs. The members of the panels purchase the right to answer questions submitted by members of COOConnect.
What do the COOConnect directories offer to members?
The directories consist of comprehensive lists of providers of prime brokerage, fund administration, securities lending, custody, IT, data, insurance, accounting, legal, public relations and recruitment services. They include basic data about providers, including contact details, and recently released corporate information. Service providers can pay to enlarge and enhance a directory entry.
What are real-world RFPs?
These are detailed requests for proposals (RFPs) which prime brokers, hedge fund administrators and IT vendors to the hedge fund industry have completed for the use of members of COOConnect. The data is available, and searchable using search and selection tools. In addition to the data supplied by the service providers, staff at COOConnect have contacted users of the services to verify and gather background information and market colour on the quality of the services in some of the more challenging areas. The information, which is updated regularly by the providers themselves, aims to shorten the search by members for appropriate service providers. Facsimiles of the RFPs are available on the web site for members of COOConnect to use in their own searches.
How does COOConnect plan to help its members achieve best practice?
Both the Managed Funds Association and the Hedge Funds Standards Working Group have published detailed recommendations for best practice. Members of COOConnect have access to a structured, searchable database containing all of the recommendations of both reports, allowing them to compare recommendations in the same areas. In addition, the database includes names of vendors, consultants and others which can help members of COOConnect implement the recommendations.
How are the services supplied by COOConnect paid for?
As the concept proves itself, members may prefer to fund it by subscription, but initially COOConnect will be funded by three principal methods. First, prime brokers, hedge fund administrators, IT vendors and consultants are invited to sponsor membership of COOConnect by their clients, because they know that better-informed and more efficient clients are also more successful clients. Secondly, prime brokers, hedge fund administrators, IT vendors and consultants will be permitted to question the membership: agreeing to respond to a fixed number of inquiries per annum will be a condition of membership of COOConnect. Thirdly, COOConnect believes that some forms of commercial promotion are compatible with the maintenance of the integrity of the group, including sponsorship of research studies, directory entries, and all or part of certain events. Ultimately, however, the success of COOConnect will not depend on who pays for it. Its success depends on the commitment and enthusiasm of its members.
What level of commitment is expected of members of COOConnect?
Every COO who joins COOConnect is committing himself or herself to make some contribution towards its success. That contribution will in some cases be a large one but in others – probably most – it will be small. Or at least small in relation to the benefits that will accrue from creating a group in which COOs swap information and insights with their peers, and use their collective muscle as well as their collective wisdom and experience to get better terms and improved results for themselves, their firms and their investors.