New York-based Rothstein Kass started life more than 50 years ago as a boutique accounting firm and has since gone on to become ranked as one of the alternative industry’s top CPA firms. As well as tax, auditing and accountancy services, the firm’s Financial Services Group supports clients across all stages of organisational development.
The Financial Services Group provides clear consistent communication to clients ranging from hedge funds and funds of funds to private equity and venture capital funds, and prides itself on the quality and entrepreneurial spirit of its employees.
Since taking on its first hedge fund clients 25 years ago, Rothstein Kass has grown with them, helping the firm to develop a unique understanding of the challenges, both operational and reputational, that managers face.
The firm has always believed in the hedge fund community’s ability to adapt and evolve in the face of economic adversity and was not surprised by fund managers’ optimism about the industry’s long-term prospects, even at the height of the financial crisis. This would appear to be vindicated now that the industry’s assets under management have set a new record of more than USD2trn.
“We currently represent in excess of 2,000 hedge funds, including offshore, domestic and funds of funds,” says Howard Altman (pictured), co-chief executive and principal-in-charge of the Financial Services Group at Rothstein Kass. “Our clients are predominantly based in the US, with a concentration of UK funds with US operations.”
Unsurprisingly, the regulatory overhaul and ongoing institutionalisation of the hedge fund industry has supported growth in the firm’s core tax and audit services as hedge funds develop operational best practices to satisfy the due diligence demands of institutional investors.
Says Altman: “Our reputation within the sector has enabled us to add strategically to the strength of our Financial Services Advisory practice, which advises clients on matters including business strategy, new product development, infrastructure, operational, technology and risk assessments, and project management.”
Increased demand for its services from firms working hard to understand the provisions and overall implications of the Dodd-Frank Act and other legislation has created some resource challenges at the firm, but Altman says: “Our reputation has also allowed us to make strategic additions to our professional staff to enhance the scope and quality of services we offer.”
One of the key factors behind Rothstein Kass’s success is the culture of collaboration it encourages among its employees. Not only does this create continuity between the account teams and stable long-term relationships with its clients, it also provides an in-depth understanding of the business issues they face.
It’s this nuanced appreciation that perhaps sets Rothstein Kass apart from its peers. “By helping our clients keep pace with industry innovation and regulatory developments, we enable them to focus greater energy on the business of managing their funds,” Altman says.
In addition, Rothstein Kass often takes the initiative in thought leadership by regularly engaging in research, producing industry white papers and hosting events to promote ongoing dialogue between the firm’s employees and the alternative investment community. Says Altman: “From Rothstein Kass University to our alumni programme, we encourage activities that foster knowledge while deepening relationship networks.”
On winning the Hedgeweek USA Award for Best Accounting Firm, he adds: “It is tremendously gratifying to be selected for this award. It is truly an honour to be selected as the top accounting service provider from among so many distinguished competitors.”