The fund business looks like it’s back.

Money has been pouring in back into long-term equity funds for four straight weeks, to the tune of $3.8 billion, $3.3 billion, $3.2 billion and $1.4 billion. Money placed in exchanged-traded funds has crossed $1 trillion, after “only” getting to $750 billion a year ago.

But there’s a lot of work ahead, in 2011, as operations and technology executives descend upon Miami for the 29th annual National Investment Company Service Association Conference and Expo.

Back shops have to get ready to meet the new Internal Revenue Service requirements for cost-basis reporting, by this time next year. New rules out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act on systemic risk may affect money market funds, where the buck got broken in 2008.

That caused the nation’s first such fund to disappear and TD Ameritrade this month to cough up $10 million for the manner in which it marketed what seemed like a safe investment.

Oh, and the eXtensible Business Reporting Language has come to risk-return summaries filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Social media is leading to a revolution in how you connect with customers, but any fund has to be conscious of potential compliance complications. Perhaps the safest way to use the media is to follow the lead of Fidelity Investments and use it to generate new ideas, in-house, that can then serve customers better (See Feb. 7 edition of Money Management Executive).

There is much to applaud here, as this year’s show opens on what is Valentine’s Day. Roughly 87 million Americans invest through mutual funds, as NICSA president Theresa Hamacher points out in her newly released rundown on “The Fund Industry.”

But when you leave, there will be much to get done, before the 30th edition commences. This is not a year for business as usual.

Take good notes. Then, roll up your sleeves.


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