History of the General Membership Meeting
The first annual meeting of the mutual fund industry was held in 1959 in New York City. Sponsored by the Investment Company Institute, the General Membership Meeting (GMM) provides a forum for industry executives to discuss key issues, feature industry leaders, and welcome international investment colleagues. Service providers and the press are important parts of each event.
The 50th Annual ICI General Membership Meeting, held in Washington, DC, in 2008, celebrated the extraordinary evolution and success of the investment company model since the creation of the first modern mutual fund in 1924.
Here is a brief look at notable developments through the history of the General Membership Meeting.
- The first GMM was held in October 1959 at the Hotel Savoy-Hilton in New York City. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller spoke, and said, “the pioneering which you have done so effectively in this country in making it possible for the small investors, the men and women with small savings, to stay abreast of the growth of the economic life of this country…is now finding a pattern and an adaptation in other parts of the world.” In 1959, there were about 160 funds with $17 billion in assets.
- In 1965, the seventh GMM attracted a record 355 people, including “members, their wives, representatives of federal and state regulatory agencies,” and others. Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the keynote speaker.
- In 1971, the GMM moved to Washington, DC. The first meeting in the capital featured a speech by Caspar Weinberger, who was Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Nixon Administration. Russell Train, Chairman of the newly created White House Council on Environmental Quality, also spoke, signifying the birth and the importance of modern environmentalism.
- The 1972 GMM was the first to feature an address from a remote speaker. Richard Scammon, Director of the Elections Research Center, gave his perspectives on the national political scene via “television video tape.” He discussed, among other things, the presidential race, which would pit President Richard Nixon against Senator George McGovern of Minnesota. Member firms introduced money market funds that year.
- The 1974 GMM was a celebration of the mutual fund industry’s 50th anniversary, since the first fund was introduced in 1924. ICI reported 395 member firms with $32 billion under management. It was also the year that President Gerald Ford signed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
- Attendees at the 1987 GMM were introduced to ICI’s new, computerized Fund User Network and Delivery System (FUNDS), which gave members access to portions of ICI’s statistical database and offered “limited electronic mail capabilities.”
- When ICI held its 40th Annual GMM in 1998, investment company assets totaled $5.5 trillion. About 77.3 million individual investors in 44.4 million households owned fund shares. Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman addressed the annual meeting on “Retirement Security Issues in the Next Millennium.”
- The 2008 GMM, the 50th such annual industry conference, drew 1,200 attendees, roughly four times as many as the first. The fund industry, meanwhile, had grown to approximately 11,429 registered investment companies with $12.3 trillion in assets held on behalf of more than 51 million American households.
- In 2010, ICI began holding three major events concurrently with the GMM: the Mutual Fund Compliance Programs Conference, the Operations and Technology Conference, and IDC’s Fund Directors Workshop. These complementary events bring together fund industry professionals and directors from the widest range of disciplines to enrich the GMM experience, bring different points of view to conference discussions, and provide attendees with more choice and overall value.