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Magazine Issues » April 2019

Directory: Third-party fund administrators

Team_meetingFunds Europe puts questions to senior executives about M&A, fund management priorities and Brexit. Plus, essential figures about some of Europe’s largest administration providers.

BNP PARIBAS SECURITIES SERVICES
Arnaud Claudon, Head of Asset Managers Client Line

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
Several years ago we completed the acquisition of Credit Suisse’s Prime Fund Services business, significantly bolstering our hedge fund offering and positioning us as a key global provider in the growing alternatives sector. In April 2018, we also acquired Janus Henderson Investors’ middle and back-office operations in the US, making us one of the top-ten fund administrators in the US, and the first European bank able to administer US mutual funds. This was another step in the development of our global fund business, which now covers all major markets in the world, enabling us to accompany our clients wherever they do business.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
When it comes to growing our business, we consider all acquisition and organic growth opportunities based on their own merits.

Where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
We are investing heavily into our digital transformation and data services in particular to help our clients enhance decision-making and differentiate themselves from the competition.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
With cost pressure expected to remain high, asset managers should be looking to harmonise their operating model and reassess outsourcing opportunities, consolidating providers across markets and products where appropriate.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
Generally speaking, our asset manager clients are looking to rationalise their offering, reducing the number of fund domiciles and fund structures on offer in order to manage costs and product complexity. The domiciles of choice remain Luxembourg and Ireland and these are being reinforced.

We are also seeing increasing interest in APAC, most notably in China to tap into the growing investor base in the country. It’s never been easier to distribute into China and both traditional and alternative asset managers are waking up to these opportunities.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
Fund clients need to carefully assess the location of their investor base and adjust their UK offering to their UK-based investors. For EU-based asset managers with EU fund ranges, this may in some cases result in the creation of a UK-specific fund range for UK investors, and vice versa. As a truly global firm, we are offering our clients services in nearly 20 jurisdictions, including the UK, Ireland and Luxembourg and can accommodate all solutions that help asset managers develop their competitive edge.

BNP Paribas Securities Services
9 rue du Débarcadère
93500, Pantin, France
+33 (0)1 42 98 10 00
www.securities.bnpparibas.com

Country of origin: France
Global number of employees in third party admin: 1,200+
Total AuA: $2,671 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $2,020 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: n/d
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: n/d

Senior executives in Europe: Patrick Colle (Paris/London), general manager; Arnaud Claudon (Paris), head of asset managers client line; Alexandre Pirlet (Luxembourg), head of fund administration and distribution solutions; Martin Bock (Luxembourg), head of global fund administration product


BNY MELLON
Daron Pearce, CEO EMEA Asset Servicing

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
No.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
We are always looking for the right additions to our business but nothing of interest has become available to us in the past couple of years.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
The focus is in enhancing the service provided to clients. Investors want better, faster and more granular operational data. We are building APIs so investors can pull information whenever they want it. By combining data we hold with data and applications from third-party providers, clients get deeper insights which we believe result in operational efficiency and strategic advantage. We continue to develop capabilities in areas of growth for clients, such as ETFs, private equity, real estate and loan funds.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Asset managers are under pressure from a number of industry trends, including a shift in investors’ knowledge and behaviours, margin compression, and the opportunities and threats from new technology. An operational priority common to many asset managers is in having a model that is sustainable. There are considerable attractions in staying on top of technological innovations and having the right solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness by outsourcing processes to providers with suitable scale, focus and resiliency.

BNY Mellon
One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
London E14 5AL, UK
+44 20 7570 1784
https://www.bnymellon.com

Country of origin: USA
Global number of employees in third party admin: n/d
Total AuA: $33,100 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $1,584 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $987,593 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $595,805 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Hani Kablawi (London), CEO, global asset servicing and chairman, EMEA; Daron Pearce (London), CEO EMEA asset servicing, BNY Mellon; Rachel Turner (Dublin), head of EMEA and APAC product development for investment managers; Katherine Starks (Frankfurt), head of asset servicing, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and CEE region


CACEIS
Pierre Cimino, Head of International Business Development

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
See below.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
Yes, we recently agreed on a recommended cash offer for all securities in Dutch custodian and fund administrator Kas Bank. Caceis is always on the lookout for businesses that provide a close strategic fit in terms of business scope and geographic coverage. However, we are also open to partnership ventures, again with a view to beneficial industry consolidation effects and market coverage synergies.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
Acquisition demands significant financial resources, but we are also investing heavily in human resources to staff our growing private equity division with highly qualified people. However, the digitisation of the funds industry continues apace, and costly IT development into RPA and AI also demands significant resources. We are aiming to put clients in a position to reap the benefits of the digital revolution.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Firms need to create a lighter back- and middle-office structure through outsourcing that has sufficient responsiveness to regulatory developments and an MIS-style real-time granular view of their own data to help manage their business.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
We are seeing the trend for ETFs continue as investors look for performance with lighter fee structures. We have also seen a recent uptick in the number of funds launched that have sustainability, environmental or ethical themes. These funds which are part of the ESG trend in asset management are driven by investor appetite for more ethical forms of investment. We believe this trend is set to continue as more firms take advantage of the trends. Such trends have led firms like Caceis to develop specific ESG services that enable managers to monitor their portfolios and provide ESG scores that cover many aspects including the carbon footprint – all of which is provided in a report.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
The biggest challenge for fund managers is not losing clients due to these political divisions. Caceis is supporting many UK managers in their efforts to set up a fund range within the European Union (both via our Irish and Luxembourg branches) in order to ensure they maintain access to the EU market and their EU investor base.

Caceis
1-3, place Valhubert
75206 Paris Cedex 13, France
[email protected]
+33 1 57 78 00 00
www.caceis.com

Country of origin: France
Global number of employees in third party admin: 1,600
Total AuA: €$1,940 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $1,940 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $718 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $448 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Jean-François Abadie (Paris), chief executive officer; Joe Saliba (Paris), deputy chief executive officer; Pierre Cimino (Luxembourg), head of international business development – member of the executive committee


CITI
Pervaiz Panjwani, EMEA Head of Custody & Fund Services

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
Citi has completed successful platform lift outs and has acquired significant incremental business from our clients adding over $200 billion AuM in the last three years.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
Citi is very focused on its growth strategy and continuously reviews business objectives in line with targets, broader market and industry activity considering both organic and inorganic growth.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
Citi continuously assesses market trends and opportunities considering both organic and inorganic growth, however, regardless of approach, Citi believes that delivering to clients a digitised, integrated solution set maximising access to and flexibility of data is key to meeting the requirements of the asset management community going forwards. We continue to invest heavily in our platform, working with our clients and across the industry, to identify best practices and differentiated solutions to enhance our clients’ value proposition and user experience.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Two themes we see clearly driving decision-making for our clients are a relentless focus on cost and the ever-growing demand for data. As the key drivers in our industry of increased regulation, fee pressures and heightened client expectations of integrated, digitised solutions continue to grow, we see these themes as central priorities for fund management firms.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
Clients continue to have a significant appetite for Ucits and Sicav products driven by a desire to target a broader client base - especially in Asia – as well as market events (Brexit). Beyond this, we see growing demand for asset class diversification, especially EFTs, OTCs and private market instruments.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
The biggest challenge facing our clients is the uncertainty that Brexit brings. Citi has stepped up to this challenge by commissioning a detailed analysis of the licensing requirements of all the jurisdictions where our clients are active and guiding clients through the impact of these. This has enabled our clients to make timely strategic and operational decisions. As Citi offers fund services through both UK and EU legal vehicles, clients have the ability to flex their distribution strategies as needed. Citi have minimised the risk and impact of re- domiciliation by carefully overseeing these complex initiatives and ensuring seamless continuity of service before, during and after the implementations.

Citi
Citigroup Centre, Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5LB, UK
[email protected]
+44 20 7986 4000
www.citigroup.com

Country of origin: US
Global number of employees in third party admin: 6,000
Total AuA: $1,600 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $1,044 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $134.3 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $909.8 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Pervaiz Panjwani (London), EMEA head custody and fund services (CFS); Fiona Horsewill (London), EMEA head product development; Matthew Bax (London), EMEA head of sales; Jervis Smith (Luxembourg), Luxembourg country business head


HSBC SECURITIES SERVICES
Nick Titmuss, Head of Operations Europe

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
No.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
HSS regularly reviews the market and explores acquisition opportunities as and when they arise.

Where is the most resource focused at present in the evolution of your business?
Recognising the increasing emphasis on the ease and breadth of data exchange between ourselves, clients and regulators, HSS are in the middle of an extensive data and digital development programme. Covering areas such as artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and APIs, our multi-year programme will fundamentally change how data flows between business partners.

HSS continues to invest in extending the scope of markets, clients, funds and investments supported. This builds upon our existing comprehensive service and positions HSS at the forefront of industry developments such as China market access and evolving investment strategies.

We have committed significant investments in our transfer agency (TA) product to develop a global TA proposition for one of our strategic clients. This covers funds domiciled in seven countries across Europe and Asia, and includes the provision of a full retail TA service in the UK.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Priorities are the continuing demands on detailed data provision and speed of disclosure as driven by regulatory developments whilst maintaining a robust risk-reduction environment.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
In the UK, we have noted an increase in demand for authorised contractual schemes from asset managers, insurers and pension schemes.

HSS is also seeing significant product innovation in passive and smart beta strategies. This has been among the strongest growth areas for Ireland with these strategies being created in both Ucits mutual funds and Ucits ETF wrappers.

HSS sees a trend towards the launch of private asset-based strategies in the AIFMD format, in particular in Luxembourg and most commonly in the Raif format. Private debt and infrastructure-related strategies are especially popular. In many examples, clients are launching parallel Luxembourg fund structures to attract European investors, mirroring pre-existing strategies previously established in US and/or Cayman/Bermudan funds.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
The UK’s departure from the EU could affect the way some financial services are provided, and how some regulatory initiatives e.g. IORP 2 and Pan-European Pension Plans, are implemented. We communicate with clients on these and other issues through webinars, web articles, seminars, conferences, and one-to-one meetings.

HSBC Securities Services
8 Canada Square, London E14 5HQ, UK
+ 44 20 7991 8888
www.hsbcnet.com/hss

Country of origin: UK
Global number of employees in third party admin: 4,500
Total AuA: $3,314 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $2,127 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $324 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $1,803 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Allegra Berman (London), global co-head of HSBC Securities Services; Richard Godfrey (London), global co-head of HSBC Securities Services; Tony McDonnell (Dublin), head of sales and business development, Europe; Nick Titmuss (London), head of operations Europe


JP MORGAN
Diane MacFarlane, Head of Global Fund Services, EMEA

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
Not answered

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
Not answered

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
We have consistently focused on a number of development areas, geared towards offering class-leading capabilities to our clients that supports them in meeting changes in investment trends as well as the continuing evolving regulatory landscape. Most recently this has involved developing innovative solutions to support money market reform and evolving governance rules where we are providing clients with new exception-based oversight tools. We have also invested in new technology for increasing scale in growth areas such as ETFs and middle-office outsourcing.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Asset managers should be focused on maximising use of standardisation and common digital data solutions to enable streamlining of operations and reductions in cost. We are also seeing increased levels of outsourcing shifting fixed to variable cost.

MARCEL GUIBOUT, FUND SERVICES PRODUCT STRATEGY LEAD EMEA
Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?

Both Ireland and Luxembourg continue to be the locations of choice for Ucits funds, with clients making specific location decisions on product type and any preferences based on existing presence and fund range. Brexit has clearly had an impact on fund launch activity, possibly influencing promoters away from reliance on future cross-border fund sales in favour of maintaining any domestic fund ranges. We have also seen clients with established Luxembourg or Ireland fund ranges prepare to launch domestic UK fund ranges having relied on a cross-border approach previously.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
Both we and our clients have been actively preparing for Brexit. We’ve supported clients in product range and domicile recalibration and we’ve continued to provide thought leadership opportunities to ensure maximum awareness. Changes in requirements around substance in fund jurisdictions is also a factor and we’ve released our NAV Analytics oversight tool to our clients to form a part of their fund governance framework which continues to see increased scrutiny.

JP Morgan
25 Bank Street, London E14 5JP, UK
020 7742 4000
https://www.jpmorgan.com/country/GB/EN/solutions/cib/securities-services

Country of origin: USA
Global number of employees in third party admin: 4,250
Total AuA: $9,161 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $2,349 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $1,104 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $359 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Diane MacFarlane (London), head of global fund services EMEA; Ann Doherty (London), regional sales executive EMEA; Spencer Baum (London), sales and relationship management for asset managers; Chris Rowland (London), head of securities services EMEA


NORTHERN TRUST
Clive Bellows, head of global fund services EMEA

Have you made any acquisition in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
In December 2018, we announced agreement to acquire FX software solution provider BEx LLC to drive continued innovation and growth in our FX business.

In October 2017, we acquired UBS Asset Management’s fund administration servicing units in Luxembourg and Switzerland. Drivers behind the deal included its potential to enhance our services and strengthen our position as a leading European fund administrator. The acquisition continues to broaden our scale, capabilities and reach across Europe.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
No. However from time to time we will consider selective acquisitions to expand our asset servicing product capability or geographical presence.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
We are investing in our business and developing capabilities to deliver greater efficiencies for our fund manager clients and also their own clients. An example is the ongoing transformation of our transfer agency services through the introduction of Northern Trust Matrix. This is our new technology architecture that digitises, automates and personalises numerous interactions between us, our clients and their investors.

In your view, what should be the top  one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
As the industry continues to rapidly evolve, it is crucial firms have the modern operational architecture in place to efficiently accommodate all relevant assets and investment products.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
It is well documented that managers continue to face uncertainty. This includes uncertainty over the marketing of UK-domiciled funds to EU investors and of EU funds to UK investors and, until recently, the implications for management delegation for UK-based managers. To assist, we have worked with clients to understand the potential consequences they face and their plans to mitigate risk. We have developed our planning with them and taken steps to ensure we continue to service all our European clients’ needs post-Brexit as their administrator and asset servicer.

Northern Trust
50 Bank Street, London E14 5NT, UK
020 7982 2176
www.northerntrust.com

Country of origin: USA
Global number of employees in third party admin: 13,483
Total AuA: $6,700 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $1,800 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $574 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $422.2 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Teresa Parker (London), president of EMEA; Toby Glaysher (London), executive vice president and head of global fund services international; Clive Bellows (Dublin), head of global fund services EMEA; Penny Biggs (London), BU strategy and marketing manager


RBC INVESTOR & TREASURY SERVICES
Paul Stillabower, Managing Director, Global Head of Product Management

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years?
No.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
RBC Investor & Treasury Services is focused on being the undisputed leader of asset, transaction banking and cash management services in Canada, competing in the fast-growing asset servicing markets of Luxembourg, Ireland and Australia, and providing best-in-class products, services and digital experiences for our clients. Like all well-managed organisations, we regularly evaluate opportunities to grow in line with our strategy.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
We aim to deliver digitally enabled products and services that transform our clients’ access to data, supplement their strategic decision-making process and improve operational efficiency while reducing risk. In particular, we have committed time and resources to developing our middle-office capabilities, private capital services and data solutions.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Faced with unprecedented market shifts, margin compression, regulatory headwinds and emerging financial technologies, fund managers should be focused on increased outsourcing and better management of their data strategies. As a leading provider with a transformational approach to technology, and a focus on industry regulation and market best practices, RBC l&TS has continued to meet clients’ evolving needs and provided value through the delivery of digitally enabled products and services.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
In an effort to reduce management fees and attract investors, many asset managers in Europe have created passive (indexed) electronically traded funds (ETFs) to address the need to offer low-cost solutions with relatively high returns. We also continue to see strong growth in asset manager-backed alternative investment funds, in particular around private debt and infrastructure. With three of the top-five private equity firms as clients (by AuM) and two of the top-five real estate firms as clients (by AuM), we are focused on leveraging our specialist expertise to increase our income and market share in this area.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients (whether UK or European) and how are you helping them?
Fund clients have been challenged to keep pace in assessing developments and their potential implications on licensing and/or permissions that may be required to continue offering services on a cross-border basis between the UK and EU. We continue to closely monitor market developments to provide our clients with the necessary support during this period. With entities domiciled in both the UK and other European countries, we will continue servicing clients irrespective of the ultimate outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

RBC Investor & Treasury Services
Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane
London EC4R 3B, UK
+44 020 7653 4000
www.rbcits.com

Country of origin: Canada
Global number of employees in third party admin: n/d
Total AuA: $3,271 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: n/d
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: n/d
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: n/d

Senior executives in Europe: Harry Samuel (London), CEO; Francis Jackson (London), head of global client coverage; Joanna Meager (London), global head of client operations, and head, UK; Paul Stillabower (London) managing director, global head of product management


SOCIETE GENERALE SECURITIES SERVICES
Sarj Panesar, Head of Business solution UK

Have you made any acquisition in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
SGSS has not made any acquisitions in the past three years.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
Not answered

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
SGSS is investing in a number of key areas. These include a new solution for clients - D-View, automation and our alternatives platform.

D-View enables asset managers to access a customisable dashboard tailored to their needs and provides them a consolidated view of distribution data of their funds across domiciles. The tool gives detailed reporting and analytics on their investors, their distributors and their fund performance on different markets and allows asset managers to more easily adapt their distribution strategy.

An example of automation is our partnership with Addventa. Management companies, who are SGSS clients, will benefit from an automated and instant drafting of performance commentaries for their financial investment portfolios which cover a given time period, selected by the client, in different languages, in a clear and consistent style.

SGSS has invested in revamping both the technology and organisation in our alternatives division to ensure that SGSS continues to deliver a quality agile service to our clients.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
One key item for review is to make sure that conscious decisions are made with regards to new technologies and how they may help in operational aspects. There is a lot of change in this area and there will be winners and losers but the efficiencies these new processes may bring cannot be ignored.

Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?
SGSS has not seen a notable shift in terms of domicile. The choice of domicile tends to have two drivers - distribution or end client requirements. For SGSS, we are able to support both domestic funds in the major European markets and cross-border funds. This is a key part of our strategy.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
I would say that as I write this, we do not know what the impact of Brexit will be. In saying that, SGSS has supported our clients in a number of ways:
• Ability to support both UK domestic funds and cross border funds;
• Paying agency and local representative agency services; and
• Ensuring our clients are fully aware of new regimes such as the UK Temporary Permissions Regime process announced by the FCA.

Societe Generale Securities Services
189, rue d’Aubervilliers
Paris 75886, France
1 à 5 Rue du Debarcadère
Paris 92700, France
www.securities-services.societegenerale.com/fr
+33 1 42 14 89 39

Country of origin: France
Global number of employees in third party admin: 4,000
Total AuA: $719 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $719 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $530 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $118 billion

Senior executives in Europe: David Abitbol (France), head of securities Services; Olivier Blanc (Paris), global head – fund services operations; Christophe Baurand (Paris), global head - coverage, marketing and solutions; Laurent Plumet (France), head of business development for fund administration


STATE STREET

State Street
20 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf
London E14 5HJ, UK
+44 20 3395 2500
www.statestreet.com

Country of origin: USA
Global number of employees in third party admin: n/d
Total AuA: $31,620 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $6,700 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $1,189 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: $3,684 billion
Senior executives in Europe: Liz Nolan (London), executive vice president (pictured, page 55)


UNIVERSAL INVESTMENT
Katja Müller, Management Board member & Head of Sales and Relationship Management

Have you made any acquisitions in the past two to three years and what were the drivers?
Universal-Investment acquired lupus alpha business solutions recently. The IT service provider and data specialist complement our service portfolio for asset managers and institutional clients by making their lives easier when it comes to front-office solutions, data warehousing as well as tax and investment reporting.

Are you actively on the acquisition path?
We consider ourselves as an active consolidator of the fund industry, i.e. we are observing the market and will act, if an attractive opportunity arises. This also comprises potential additions enhancing our service portfolio or allowing us to expand into new European markets.

Whether through acquisition or organic development, where is the most resource focused at present in the development of your business?
Our vision is to become the leading European fund service platform for all asset classes. To reach this goal, most of our resources are directed at growing the different parts of our business organically. However, if an acquisition makes sense, e.g. by helping us to tap a new market or acquiring specialist know-how, we will take action.

In your view, what should be the top one or two operational priorities for fund management firms now, and why?
Emerging technologies and arising possibilities will shape the market in the operational area going forward. We invest a significant amount of financial and human capital especially in robotics, digital assets and distributed ledger technology as well as machine learning. Those technologies will change the value chain in asset management, reduce costs significantly and allow for truly scalable processes.
Secondly, we think ESG is an issue every player in the fund industry needs to tackle as regulatory requirements, particularly for institutional clients, are growing.

MICHAEL REINHARD, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Have you seen any notable shifts in appetite for clients launching products in particular domiciles in the past, say, two years and what were the drivers?

We see an increasing number of institutional clients allocating more funds in alternative assets. Our Luxembourg platform plays a crucial part in this respect as it offers appropriate vehicles such as RAIF. Their motivation to do so is twofold: diversification to improve risk management and higher yields compared to traditional bonds, which are currently lacking performance.

In the context of Brexit, what are you finding to be the biggest challenges to fund clients and how are you helping them?
Clients affected by Brexit find the whole range of Luxembourg and German AIF and Ucit investment vehicles in our portfolio. We are offering them support for European or worldwide distribution with registration services and provide access to a broad network of institutional investors on our platform. Universal-Investment’s Commission Management works with more than 100 partners making the funds available on most banks and platforms. Already today, we are the largest AIFM and third-party ManCo in Luxembourg.

Universal Investment
Theodor Heuss Allee 70
Frankfurt am Main 60486, Germany
[email protected]
+49 69 710430
www.universal-investment.com

Country of origin: Germany
Global number of employees in third party admin: 600
Total AuA: $471 billion
Total AuA in EMEA business: $471 billion
Total AuA Ucits in Europe: $35 billion
Total AuA Non-Ucits in Europe: €436 billion

Senior executives in Europe: Bernd Vorbeck (Frankfurt), chief executive officer; Michael Reinhard (Frankfurt), chief operating officer; Frank Eggloff (Frankfurt), chief financial officer

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