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Rating:Seen and Heard at ICI Orlando Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Seen and Heard at ICI Orlando

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Them mutual fund lawyers and accountants know how to party. No, seriously.

Roughly 900 mutual fund lawyers, accountants, compliance and other executives brought down the house during the 2014 ICI Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference hosted from March 16th to the 19th at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.

To be sure, there were serious moments. For instance, at the beginning of the conference, ICI president and chief executive Paul Schott Stevens bellowed a battle cry against a number of regulatory trends such as the designation of a number of asset managers as "systemically important financial institutions."

Also, the SEC's director of investment management Norm Champ told asset managers that his department wanted to hear from them so he and his colleagues could develop a better sense of what was going on in the industry.

There were also a number of thought provoking sessions drilling down on the major legal and compliance issues of the day.

And then they partied, frequently and ferociously.

And before you start to snark on the subject, note this, the Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference is a storied, almost legendary event among fund legal eagles. The event has been going on for at least two decades, previously run by a bar association. In past years, firms had hosted events which involved mock casinos, low-flying puddle jumper trips to exclusive locations and performances by big, big, big rock groups.

Like everything else, the ICI has toned down a bit on the craziness, if only a little bit.

Nonetheless, the post-session events was the usual arms race in food, drinks, music and mutual fund goofing around.

Sunday night was a dinner and reception hosted by Paul Hastings as well as a shindig by the irish Funds Industry Association.

Monday included a breakfast by BNP Paribas; a Cohen Fund Services dinner at Disney's Contemporary Resort California Grill; and receptions by Karmer Levin, Seward & Kissel, UMB, and JP Morgan. State Street hosted a "Mardis Gras" experience. There was also a dinner by Dechert and a closed reception by BNY.

Monday was topped off by an all-night desert reception hosted by Deliotte.

Tuesday had a wild beach party-themed dinner hosted by BBD at Paradise Cove at Lake Bryan. The shindig featured hermit crab races, Caribbean music, cocktails, dinner and sunset boat rides in Lake Bryan.

There was also wine tasting event hosted by Northern Trust and a reception by Wilmer Hale.

That evening was topped off by the usual out-of-hand, no-holds barred PwC extravaganza.

The PwC was nuts. Giant lighted balls featuring the PwC logo and a wild assortment of goodies like braised short-rib, roast beef, assorted fish, bacon-wrapped scallops, and a wide assortment of desserts.

All of the events featured killer food, much of it provided by either the JW marriott's restaurants or hotel kitchens. There were giant slabs of sushi fish (like at the UMB event); giant prawns (like at the IFIA) event; mini lobster rolls (like at the Seward & Kissell event); tender ham and whipped potatoes (like at the Wilmer hale event), and more desserts you could shake a stick at (like at the Deliotte and PwC events).

And there was music. At the UMB event, a cover band played the dulcet tones of Coldplay among others. The Deloitte event had a band play, among other things, Margharitaville. There were Spanish guitars at the Wilmer and Northern Trust events.

And the PwC event blew itself out with a band that included a number of former and ongoing members of Billy Joel's own band, including sax player Richie Cannata, guitarist Tommy Byrnes and bassist Andy Cichon.

Many attendees brought their spouses and kids, bringing a cute family feel to the event as families danced in unison or enjoyed mini vacations around the resort.

There was also a FUNd ride and golf, golf, and golf.

Sometimes it's good to be a lawyer or an accountant. No, seriously. 

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