Here are some key quotes from my latest podcast with Elaine Chim, head of the private equity product for the Americas and APAC at the Apex Group, discussing trends in fund administration for private equity funds:

“If you think about all the different funds that have crossed my desk in the past 10 years, and the challenges and solutions we have come up with to solve for these issues, it’s ever evolving, constantly changing, and it’s a very competitive space.  So in short, for me, it’s just never boring this industry.”

“My role has really expanded over the years. I joined Apex to run private equity for the Americas. And now I oversee Asia Pacific as well. And my responsibilities include client service, business development, product development and relationship management.”

“Being technically competent and having those focused client-service aspects are very much a part of the day-to-day job in our space.”

“I think there’s a bit of catching up to do in the private equity space.  There’s around 40% of private equity funds who have outsourced to a third-party administrator compared to the hedge fund space, which is closer to 90%.”

“I think the intensified demands of the pandemic really demonstrated the benefits of freeing up [a manager’s] time and resource to allow managers to focus on maintaining relationships with clients, delivering returns and doing what they are good at, and rely on service providers like ours for everything else.”

“I think there is a genuine desire to move most non-investment activities to service providers for the benefits that they see in terms of cutting overall expenses of the manager,  And our ability is to be flexible, to scale up and down as required, at any point in the fund’s lifecycle.”

“We’re talking about new tech advancements such as distributed ledger technology, or blockchain. And these themes have been leveraged to improve operational efficiency by minimizing the need for manual paper-based processes to more automated, transparent processes.  That is going to continue to be the key trend.”

“The industry consolidation is an indication of the complexity of the tasks being managed. So building, maintaining and keeping up with technology can be hard for smaller administrators out there and to remain competitive. It just makes more sense for the smaller ones to consolidate.”

“I think a key topic or issue right now [for COOs] is the key operational threat. And that’s cyber security.”

“I think the expectation is in five years’ time that periodic reporting – meaning the quarterly reporting or monthly reporting that we do right now – will be redundant because general partners will require and probably expect real time access to their data, and for the administrators to provide that as a standard.”

“Aligning ESG related goals with investments and returns requires PE firms to develop and apply new criteria to determine whether they are achieving their targets. They will also need to upgrade internal processes and streamline functions, such as compliance and regulatory reporting.”

“Apex is very proud to have partnered with the Eden Reforestation Projects and employee-to-plant initiative. We are committed to planting up to 200,000 trees this year by planting trees for every new client service that is contracted. So please find out more on our website.”