The consolidation of Admiral Administration into the Maitland Group last October has proven to be a winning formula according to Canover Watson, Managing Director at Admiral (which has retained its name).
Following the industry collapse of 2008, it was important for Admiral to have more ballast in the market to appeal more readily to established managers and their institutional investors. “Being able to show that we’re part of a group with USD165billion in total assets is a clear benefit.
“It has also been of benefit to Maitland, who are leaders in the long-only space of fund administration. That they now have access to a best of breed hedge fund platform that has been recognised for its quality has opened them up to a wider market so the consolidation has worked well for both sides,” enthuses Watson.
Admiral’s approach has always been to provide a high touch, tailored service to its clients. At the same time, though, the firm has the technology platform, the expertise and the depth of experience to compete with the larger administrators. Finding the right partner that shared this client-centric philosophy was critical to Admiral when deciding to consolidate.
“We work closely with every client to deliver the right solution. We’ve built the platform around relationship management. We wanted to find someone that shared that same philosophy, which Maitland certainly does,” says Watson.
The result has been a year of good growth in the US market. In Watson’s words, Admiral are “moving up the food chain”, and whilst emerging managers remain an integral part of the business, Admiral is building traction and taking on more established managers.
“Our sweet spot is for managers between USD100million and USD1billion in assets. The reality is that a USD200million manager today is being underserved by the largest global administrators. That’s creating a service gap, which is where the opportunity lies for us.
“With this Maitland merger we really intend to be the leader in the mid-tier space.”
The reason why Admiral is well suited to mid-tier managers is not only because of the comprehensive service it offers (it has recently developed a Form PF and FATCA solution as well as enhancing its cash/collateral management support in the middle office), but also because “we’re able to offer a higher touch approach at a competitive price point”, explains Watson.
“In addition, having an office in Cape Town gives us an enhanced back office capability. We have a six-hour time zone advantage on the East coast so we can do a lot of overnight processing and reconciliation for our clients and provide 9am reporting. These are things that bode well for us to continue providing quality service to US managers.”
Whether it is a startup trying to build a track record or a more established manager, one clear trend that has emerged in the US in the last few years is that more hedge fund managers understand the need to outsource functions to independent administrators.
Watson comments: “It’s a trend I think we’ll continue to see as US managers strive to demonstrate independence and transparency in their efforts to raise capital from the bigger financial institutions and pension funds.
“We want to own the mid-tier space and grow with managers, both established and emerging. I think we have the global depth of resources and the right service model to be able to make that happen.”
On winning the award, Watson comments: “We are honoured to be once again recognised by Hedgeweek for the quality of our service. It is a testament of the commitment to our clients to provide them with a tailored solution to meet all their needs.”