London offers new hub for global expansion

As PerTrac Financial Solutions continues to grow its client base and expand its suite of product solutions for both the hedge fund manager and investor communities, its office in London is taking on an ever more important role as a centre for new product development, as a base for support for customers throughout the world, and as a focus for sales and marketing efforts outside the Americas.

London has long been a crucial market for PerTrac, of course, given its position as an international capital for the hedge fund industry and as home to a number of important investor institutions. PerTrac already has some 200 London-based clients on the manager side and even more among institutions and funds of hedge funds, providing the largest share of its European business.

To cope with the growth of its European client base and of the region's alternative investment industry, PerTrac has focused extensive resources on the London office. In the past two years, the number of personnel has doubled, with additional hires made in technical support, training, professional services, sales and development. As a result, clients in London and mainland Europe now receive local time zone support, in-office training, and personal access to sales and account managers.

In addition, the Middle East appears to offer substantial growth potential for the alternative investment industry in general and PerTrac in particular, as was evident in Asia three years ago, and it may well be the next region in which PerTrac decides to establish a permanent presence. In the meantime, the London office is responsible for sales and support in the Middle East, because of the time zone advantage over the group's US operations and because the city remains an important conduit for hedge fund investment from the region.

This is an important time for PerTrac's business and strategy development due to the legal, regulatory and market changes that are increasing the reach of alternative investments. As investing institutions in continental Europe, Asia and the Middle East often require higher degrees of transparency, hedge fund managers are turning to technological solutions to manage, analyse and disseminate an increasing amount of often complex information.

With the launch of PerTrac's portfolio management solution for hedge fund investors, the firm is now offering three distinct products to its clients. Following the PerTrac Analytical Platform, the product that literally made the company's name and is now an international standard in the industry, the acquisition two years ago of Whittaker Garnier brought the PerTrac CMS workflow solution into the company's product suite.

The CMS product was created in the London office and the portfolio management system has also been largely developed there, one factor in doubling the London-based development staff over the past two years, and firmly establishing the office as one of PerTrac's two key product development centres.

Further growth is expected as the blurring of the boundaries between traditional and alternative assets enables PerTrac to expand its market beyond its existing clientele, where it is a big player in a relative small sector. As traditional managers move into the hedge fund space and hedge fund managers diversify into long-only products, the firm is already seeing opportunities to expand into the mainstream asset management market. With so many irons in the fire, the influence, size and importance of PerTrac's London office, and of its European clients, can only continue to grow.

Mark Weller is managing director for EMEA and Asia with PerTrac Financial Solutions

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