What are some of the key considerations when identifying the right service operating model for your company?
Your operating model and managed services provider need to be able to accommodate your future growth plans. If you are considering moving into new jurisdictions, asset classes or strategies, they need to be able to flex accordingly to support that next step for your company. Crucially in today’s data-driven environment, you also want to think about your data and technology needs. Investors are demanding real-time access to information and transparency. Do you want to take on the cost and responsibility of building and maintaining the capability to provide that in-house? Many asset managers are engaged in M&A activity, which is a logical moment for a fundamental rethink of your operating model.
How is traditional outsourcing changing?
The need to access data is driving change – for the better in our view. We’re moving away from a commoditized and transactional type of model towards operationally integrated partnerships, where there’s transparency and access to data in real-time. We’re also seeing some consolidation and rationalization of partnerships. Where perhaps a manager might have had multiple fund administrator partnerships in the past, now they might have one or two deeply embedded partnerships that can cover all the jurisdictional and sector specialisms they need globally.
Co-sourcing is a relatively new concept. What is it and why might firms consider it?
Essentially, co-sourcing is an operating model where the manager maintains an in-house data and technology stack that their administrator has access to and can create and modify primary data elements. It’s a hybrid model between fully outsourced and fully insourced. The benefit it offers managers is that it allows total control and ownership of their data and real-time access to it, while tapping into the asset class and systems specialists, and talent acquisition capabilities of a fund administrator, all while reducing manager level overheads.
Beyond co-sourcing, in what circumstances might a full lift-out be the right solution for a company?
That partly depends on whether, as a manger, you have the scale and appetite to reinvest in your own technology and in-house operations or not. There are considerable advantages to partnering with a provider who constantly upgrades their technology platforms and can provide a long-term career path to valuable internal resources. There are also the economies of scale and best practices that a global administrator can offer, without being distracted by the challenges of maintaining a back office. We’ve seen great success for both clients and personnel as we’ve created a playbook to successfully assist with these types of full lift-out transitions.
With this evolution in mind, what should a company be looking for when choosing a service provider?
Ultimately a good administrator is focused on white-glove levels of service and forming a deep partnership with their clients, which will include customizable solutions and specific asset-class expertise that meets specific needs. An administrator should be viewed as a critical member of the team, who when leveraged correctly delivers significant value-add to portfolio, risk management, and investor teams. Critically, you need to have confidence that they are technologically innovative, as well as culturally a good fit for your organization.
This article was originally published in Preqin's Service Provider Report.