The IIA and its members have led the industry to adopt the highest standards. IIA members adhere to the IIA Best Practices, IOSCO Principles, and local regulations.

Indexes’ Five Truths

IIA’s members, all independent index providers, posit the following values:

  • That indexes measure market activities, not create or distort them
  • Indexes lower investment costs but are not investable products
  • Indexes are transparent
  • Index providers operate according to industry-standard methodology and best practices
  • And index providers support product and technological innovation.

Our Place in the Ecosystem

Independent index providers serve a central and pivotal role in facilitating market access and investment democratization; yet the role of indexes in financial markets is frequently misunderstood. Indexes plug into, but are distinct from, well-defined flows of information and productization across a wide range of market participants and trading activities. See the chart below for their roles and these relationships’ structure.

Advocacy Resources

Indexation 101

What is an index and how can it help me be a better investor? What’s the difference between an index and an investment product, like an ETF, that is based on an index? Who decides and what is the process for deciding what goes into any given index?

These are all important questions for investors today. With the growing influence of passive investing, index-based investment approaches are becoming much more important to institutional investors running the world’s largest pension funds but also, importantly, to the millions of individual investors relying on index-based strategies to pursue long-term investment goals.

The Index Industry Association (IIA), a not-for-profit organization serving the fast-growing community of independent index providers, has created Indexation 101 to help answer these and other important questions for market participants such as individual and institutional investors, regulators and other representative bodies. The new document is part of an ongoing initiative by the IIA to educate global investors on the importance of indexes and the nuances of how they are created and maintained for investors.

See our Indexation 101 tutorial here.

SEC Comment on Tailored Reports

The Index Industry Association (IIA), an independent, not-for-profit organization composed of leading global independent index administrators, has commented on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule regarding Tailored Shareholder Reports.

In the response, the full text of which can be found here, the IIA supports the SEC Proposed Rule which requires funds to disclose a comparison of their performance against a broad-based market index in fund reporting materials. The IIA believes this rule is consistent with its Best Practice Guidelines, designed to ensure the highest quality and integrity of indexes globally. The IIA goes on to confirm its support for the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Principles for Financial Benchmarks and existing SEC rules as a thoughtful framework to ensure due diligence standards for indexes are being fully met.

The IIA goes on to address the SEC’s concern around potential costs associated with using more specific, tailored indexes to compare the performance of more specific investment mandates to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison. The IIA does not believe using these more tailored index comparisons in fund reporting will result in any meaningfully increased costs to the end investor. The IIA concludes by reinforcing the strong governance structure in place for index-based investment products, reinforced by the IIA’s Best Practice Guidelines and IOSCO Principles framework and underscored by the SEC’s effective rules and guidance, ensure that registered funds, their boards of directors and investment advisers conduct due diligence and monitor their service providers. As an example, the IIA shares that through the teeth of a global pandemic and unprecedented market volatility in 2020, index-based investors were well served by the effective combination of IIA Best Practices, IOSCO Principles and the SEC rules.

IOSCO Principles

The IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissioners) Task Force on Financial Market Benchmarks Consultation Report is an important milestone in the global response to recent investigations and enforcement actions against attempted manipulation of certain benchmarks. IIA shares the Task Force’s commitment to the development of benchmarks with high levels of transparency and integrity.Click to learn more about the IOSCO Principles.

EU Regulations

The Benchmarks Regulation introduces a regime for benchmark administrators that ensures the accuracy and integrity of benchmarks. ESMA developed draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) and implementing technical standards (ITS) on a large number of areas, and also provided the Commission with Technical Advice. ESMA coordinates the supervision of benchmark administrators by national competent authorities. For critical benchmarks, a college of national supervisors including ESMA is formed and is responsible for key decisions.Click to learn more about the EU Benchmark Regulation.

European BMR