CEO Bill Mulligan (pictured) founded US regulatory advisory firm HedgeOp Compliance LLC in 2001, since when it has built a reputation for servicing its clients – large and small – in a comprehensive, proactive manner. Its team of about 50 in the US have a wide array of hedge fund, legal and compliance experience, not to mention IT software development experience. Earlier this year, HedgeOp combined forces with IMS out of London and now has a combined team of about 100 working at offices in New York, Boston, San Francisco and London.
HedgeOp Compliance has built its business model on three core pillars. These include: compliance/regulatory consulting, compliance software, and due diligence support.
Speaking with Hedgeweek, Mulligan confirms that the lion’s share of business growth in 2011 came from all three areas. “Clearly our registration support projects related to the Dodd-Frank deadline were a really busy area for us, but to be honest we were busy across all parts of the firm,” confirms Mulligan.
The firm enjoyed strong growth in the number of hedge fund clients it advises year-on-year, with Mulligan adding that “we have also seen a tremendous amount of growth in providing services to private equity fund firms”.
ComplianceTrak and Compliance ELF (Employee Level Filing), developed by the firm’s software arm, EvenWheel Solutions, are the two core software tools offered to the market. Compliance ELF allows users to build a comprehensive compliance intranet and connects electronically to over 2,800 brokerage institutions. It also has a powerful compliance reporting engine – something that hedge funders are going to have to embrace in the new age of regulation.
ComplianceTrak is essentially an interactive compliance calendar to help compliance officers create a workflow for documenting and reporting on various compliance tasks. With the Volcker Rule, FATCA and other Dodd Frank-related regulations bearing down on hedge funds, Mulligan says “we are always looking to make our systems work better based upon feedback from users”, when asked if HedgeOp Compliance is having to upgrade and evolve its systems to keep pace with regulatory change.
“We are always looking at new regulations to see how we could modify/expand EvenWheel’s software tools to play a role. We anticipate releasing several new developments on those systems in late 2012.”
Based on feedback from its clients, Mulligan says that the biggest challenge facing CCOs today “is the ability to stay on top of all the changes on the regulatory front”.
The objective of the firm’s consulting service is to provide managers with a high level of hands-on compliance and operational support so as to enable the CCO to make the bigger picture decisions and focus more time on other core responsibilities. If ever they needed a weight to be lifted off their shoulders to allow them to focus on the key issues it’s now: this pervasive level of compliance, is, after all, a whole new ballgame for hedge fund managers.
So why does Mulligan think HedgeOp Compliance won this award? He responds by admitting not to have a precise answer to this but stresses: “Our focus is always on providing proactive, practical support to our clients and I would imagine that this focus played a role (in our winning the award).”
On winning the award, Mulligan comments: “The firm is honoured and humbled to win this award. The further drive/incentive for us is to focus on meeting our clients’ needs on a daily basis.”