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Developing a long-term presence in Asia

With its core PerTrac Analytical Platform product, PerTrac Financial Solutions is by far the largest player in the market in the market for providing asset allocation and investment analysis software to the alternative investment industry, with customers in 46 countries around the world and nearly 100 clients in Asia. After Insight Venture Partners and Salmon River Partners invested in PerTrac in July 2005, we examined what we needed to do to grow the business. First, there was natural growth in our underlying market with the number of hedge funds, the number of investors in hedge funds, and the amount of allocations to alternative investments all growing. Tools to help people analyse and communicate hedge fund performance were becoming more and more important.

However, no market stays still, and our clients becoming bigger and more sophisticated, more global in many ways, and their needs were evolving. Our first commitment was to ensure that the capabilities of our core analytical product remained in step with those needs. As hedge funds have proliferated, so has the number of hedge fund databases. To enable clients to use multiple databases from different data vendors more effectively, we embarked on a major effort to cross-reference all the databases so that clients using our programme could search them simultaneously and automatically. This enables them to produce hedge fund universes without duplicate listings, which is crucial when creating peer groups or benchmarks, or seeking managers for potential investment. This feature, unveiled in September last year, is just one of a number of changes to the product that are developed and introduced on an ongoing basis, with two major releases scheduled every year. Other refinements to the programme that reflect developments in the marketplace include supporting weekly and daily data, adding new databases, supporting factor and impact analysis, and adding more quantitative tools. The second part of the strategy has focused on the workflow of our clients by building an integrated suite of products to tie together many of their needs and allow them to work seamlessly with information from one programme to another, in the same way that Microsoft Office offers an integrated set of workplace IT applications.

The acquisition of Whittaker Garnier with its CMS product just over a year ago targeted the need for communications management in its broadest sense, including communications from hedge funds and funds of funds to their investors and between fund of funds and the managers they are invested in, document management, contact management, relationship management and e-mail logging.

The integration of our products makes them more attractive to an increasing number of clients who are expanding into the region as they develop a global footprint. We now have an extensive roster of firms including capital introduction groups, prime brokers, funds of hedge funds and large hedge funds that our using PerTrac products in Asia as well as at their headquarters in London or New York. PerTrac's office in Hong Kong is headed by Phil Cook, who has been working since his appointment last year to build relationships with our Asian clients and prospects. Joined by Curtis Schmidt, a longtime PerTrac staffer who specialises in  training and support, the local team is committed to strengthening and deepening client relationships as well as enabling us to respond more effectively to market needs. And in a region where long-term relationships are prized, it demonstrates the firm's strategic commitment to its clients and to the Asian hedge fund market.

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