WHAT'S IN A NAME? Selecting and appointing a fund administrator25 May 2018
Early in 2018, Ocorian conducted an online survey of specialists working within fund advisory and/or management. Respondents were drawn from across the Private Equity and Real Estate profession and primarily based with the UK (71%) or central and western Europe.
In selecting and appointing a fund administration provider, respondents to our survey told us that two clear factors outweigh all others: reputation (37.8%) and expertise in relevant asset classes (25.6%).
These were followed by some distance by: an existing relationship (10.3%), independence (7.7%) and the technological solutions offered (5.8%).
KEY FACTORS IN SELECTING A FUND ADMINISTRATOR
- Reputation (37.8%)
- Expertise in relevant asset classes (25.6%)
- Existing relationship (10.3%)
- Independence (7.7%)
- Technological solutions (5.8%)
- Range of services (4.5%)
- Stated cost (4.5%)
- Global reach (3.8%)
“Expertise and track record in the relevant asset class are key factors in our clients’ fund administrator selection process,” explains Marc Schubert, Associate at Weil, Gotshal and Manges (London) LLP. “As with all service providers, experience and market reputation are important criteria.”
He continues: “We often see our clients favour providers with which they already have an existing relationship, even if that relationship is in a different part of their business or covers a different asset class.”
It is notable too that respondents prioritised bespoke services above a more global or generalised offering and for that reason cost was also a secondary concern.
“One thing I’ve always noticed, perhaps somewhat bizarrely, when clients are looking to find a new fund administrator – they never seem to be interested in price,” says Rob Williams, Tax Director – Real Estate and Construction at BDO LLP
“They want reputation and reliability: someone they can trust. Clients want to work with proven experts who can do their job, know what they’re talking about and can take care of everything.”
So why change?
When asked why a review of administrator might occur, two reasons dominate: lack of expertise (35.5%) and a change in the key contact (29.7%). The importance of relevant, tailored expertise and personal relationships should therefore not be underestimated.
“Reputation is really important. But that’s not simply about brand; it’s as much about the individuals who’ll be servicing an account,” says David Brown, Partner at Deloitte. “Reputations can be won and lost quite rapidly. Often it boils down to individual relationships and trust in the people who are going to deliver for you.”
REASONS TO REVIEW FUND ADMINISTRATOR
- Lack of expertise (35.5%)
- Change in key contact (29.7%)
- Complex request (15.5%)
- Security issue (10.3%)
- Technology issue (8.4%)