NEW YORK — There was record attendance at the 9th Annual Closed-End Funds and Global ETFs Forum on Wednesday, April 28, held at the Metropolitan Club.
The Fifth Avenue club has been the meeting place of financial luminaries like J.P. Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt since 1894, but while those attending the 2010 forum didn’t quite reach that iconic status, there were luminaries of the CEF and ETF universe attending, some of whom won awards.
The attendance, including the media, reached 951, an increase of more than 30% from last year, according to the forum’s host, Capital Link, a New York-based investor relations and financial communications firm. Since 2007, when attendance was 443, there has been a steady climb each year.
The forum focused on current trends and developments in CEFs and ETFs. The forum included presentations by fund managers, analysts and experts from the industry, in addition to a series of industry roundtables with in-depth discussion among panelists.
Some of the forums main sponsors were Aberdeen Asset Management, Milberg, BlackRock, iShares, Morningstar, and UBS.
The luncheon keynote speaker was Gerald Malone, chairman of the board of directors of Aberdeen Funds. The topic of his speech was called, “Navigating in Emerging Markets Nations: Opportunities and Pitfalls.”
“So, for the ‘why emerging markets question’ the answer is, ‘Because that’s where the growth is,’ ” Malone said. “ Growth in emerging markets held up surprisingly well during the current crisis. And over the next five years growth in the developed world is predicted at 1.5% to 2%. For the emerging world as a whole it’s 5% to 6%.”
Malone said that this growth was different than in the past because of underlying structural changes in these emerging markets.
“On four critical measures of macroeconomic risk that previously plagued emerging economies and provoked the 1997 Asian economic crisis things are looking good,” Malone said. “And they are: external and public debt as a share of GDP; size of the fiscal deficit; external current-account balance and the change in domestic leverage.”
The Annual Closed-End Fund & ETF Awards aimed to identify and recognize those fund sponsors and executives who consistently applied high standards of financial disclosure, investor and shareholder relations, and innovation to the industry. In addition, awards were also presented to firms and analysts for their research coverage of the CEF and ETF sectors.
Nicolas Bornozis, president of Capital Link, said the awards were based on nominations by a committee of analysts and industry specialists who actively follow CEFs and ETFs, and that Capital Link was not part of the Nominating Committee.
The winners were:
Closed-End Fund Awards
o Most Innovative Closed-End Fund in 2009: Nuveen Mortgage Opportunity Term (JLS)
o Best Shareholder Relations by a non-U.S. Closed-End Fund Family in 2009: ING Investment Management
o Best Shareholder Relations by a U.S. Equity Closed-End Fund Family in 2009: Eaton Vance Management