By Simon Boor – Throughout the alternative fund industry, and especially in the Cayman Islands as the world’s largest hedge fund domicile, the focus today is more than ever on transparency, which means not just the availability of information but ease of access to it. That has been one of the drivers behind Admiral Administration’s development of Avatar, its state of the art proprietary transfer agency, CRM, workflow and reporting system, and Avatar FM, which allows seamless delivery of investor and portfolio information to the firm’s fund manager clients.
Designed as the hub of Admiral’s information technology toolkit, Avatar provides data warehousing capabilities and an extensibility interface to facilitate integration with the other software applications the firm uses, the Advent Geneva portfolio accounting system, the Advent Partner partnership accounting and reporting platform, and the Paladyne data management suite.
Avatar is designed to enable Admiral to operate with the maximum efficiency whilst adhering to strict control processes and workflows. It also offers the ability to create extension applications, as the firm has done with project management and business continuity planning. In the future this could be used to create highly complex or specific developments required by a particular client.
Avatar FM, which is being rolled out to managers this month, is Admiral’s tool for delivering transparency in practice, providing not only real-time fund data but tools to facilitate communication between managers and their service team at Admiral. An important benefit is that the system can deliver information that would otherwise consume time and effort on the part of both manager and administrator.
Timely delivery of information to fund managers and their investors has become primordial in the wake of the Madoff scandal. Delays of days or weeks in the provision of fund data are no longer tolerable. Other factors are also driving the need for open access to information, including a greater focus on know-your-customer and due diligence processes as well as the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act by the US just a year away.
Avatar FM offers a secure channel for managers to access dynamic and static data at both investor and portfolio level from Admiral, without obliging them to go to the firm’s web site or to use potentially more vulnerable conduits such as e-mail. The system also allows for the tracking and display of documents and investor communications. Avatar FM data grids are customisable and easily exported into Excel.
Fund managers using Avatar FM can get detailed information about a particular subscription or redemption in real time to resolve problems with investors quickly and easily, improving their relationships and in many cases avoiding the need for investors to contact Admiral directly when they have queries. As the system continues to evolve, it will allow managers to access other information such as the underlying subscription and redemption documents related to the transaction.
Transparency is the future of fund administration, although some service providers have been slow to recognise it; in many cases there is still more talk than action. Admiral has been developing its proprietary fund administration systems for more than 10 years, and Avatar FM is the firm’s answer to providing such transparency to its fund manager clients.
Simon Boor is head of research and development with Admiral Administration
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