Regulation, Reinvention and Relationships Topped 2021 Cohen Client Conference– October 25, 2021 by Chris Bellamy

We were honored again to host our annual Cohen Client Conference this past week. While the event was virtual, we had several hundred attendees join us online over two days, representing mutual funds, investment advisers, hedge funds, ETFs, digital asset funds and more.

This year more than ever, the opportunity to converge with industry peers and share common struggles and solutions reminds us of the importance of growth, innovation and resilience in this challenging industry and world right now. The relentless optimism and hard work of our staff, our firm as a whole and our clients have been paramount this past year to staying focused and on course. To say we greatly appreciate the tremendous teamwork and energy of all of these groups is an understatement.
Together, we’ve all gone through a lot of change and learning over the past year and a half. The conference theme of earned insights couldn’t be more appropriate. These past two days focused on not only what we do with our knowledge and insights to get through these periods of disruption, but how we can use them to be better on the “other side.”

Conversations throughout the conference ran the gamut from blurring lines between the registered and private funds sectors, such as the convergence of ETFs and digital assets; staying ahead of new products; and keeping up with the SEC and other regulatory agencies.

Regardless of the specific topic being covered, a few running themes prevailed throughout the conference, one being the concept of reinvention. Many private funds are considering, or jumping into, launching registered funds. It’s definitely a step out of their comfort zone but could be beneficial. Questions such as, should a private fund dive directly into a registered fund product? Is it better to ease their way in, launching a private fund, raising capital and generating returns before converting those assets to a registered fund down the road? And is a private fund ready for the restrictions and regulation the registered fund world requires? All excellent questions with various answers. Digital assets is a space in itself that continues to invent, reinvent and search for clarity.

Then there’s, of course, regulation — keeping ahead of it, understanding it and then navigating its obligations. Even during a pandemic, the SEC is not slowing down on examinations and enforcement. They’re wrapping their arms more tightly around business continuity plans; ESG, particularly disclosures on climate risk exposures; and new cybersecurity rules surrounding adequate policies and procedures. At the same time, the regulation (and taxation) of digital assets tends to have a lot of buzz but not much clarity, so will certainly continue to be a focus. We are all watching how the proposed infrastructure bill could affect cryptocurrency and the many tax issues associated with the Build Back Better bill. The Wyden proposal, threatening to repeal the ability to recognize gain of a redemption-in-kind transaction could have significant impact across ETFs and certain mutual funds. The industry continues to fight the good fight, but time will tell if the provision comes out in upcoming or even down-the-road legislation.

And, finally, relationships made their way into many conversations. Whether it’s a private fund manager building the right relationships in the capital markets space to be successful with a new ETF launch, or funds building open communication with the Commissioners at the SEC. Small, medium or large fund — show up, get face time, be heard.

This conference covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. We sincerely thank all of our speakers, panelists and attendees for offering your earned insights and applying them toward the greater good for our industry. We can’t wait to see everyone next year!

Contact Chris Bellamy at or a member of your service team to discuss this topic further.

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Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.