This is the second consecutive year that Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP has won this award, complementing three straight years as Best North American Accounting Firm. According to Jeffrey Rosenthal, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of Anchin’s Financial Services Group, it’s no fluke: “I believe it truly reflects the level of commitment to service that we provide to our clients. We’re not commodity-driven. What sets us apart in auditing, tax and advisory services, and accounting, is our level of attention and high partner touch ratio. Our partners get to know the fund managers and their perspectives. We’re proactive in dealing with tax planning issues, and explore what are the best options available to our clients.”
The Financial Services Group launched more than 35 years ago and includes ten partners and more than 50 dedicated professionals. It works with over 350 hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity funds, funds-of-funds, master-feeder funds, broker/dealers and family offices. Financial Services is Anchin’s largest industry practice. This has helped the firm develop a leading reputation in the business community.
The philosophy of the firm is to deliver a broad array of proactive solutions to clients. There are no technical silos, bur rather an integrated team approach. This proactive stance was demonstrated towards the end of last year when the US undertook a change in tax policy the firm made sure all of its clients were kept in the loop, and as Rosenthal explains:
“We believe that taxes for fund managers and investors will rise but to what extent we can’t say yet. Once the preferential tax treatment of carried interest is finally put to rest there will be other structures created that may be more appropriate or tax efficient for fund managers. So potentially, I think you’ll see changes in the way funds and the related fees are structured.
On providing a high-touch service, Rosenthal says that the focus is on understanding its clients’ needs: “We customise our relationships on a client by client basis, whose needs truly differ from fund to fund. Some clients want significant input from the partner, others don’t. We structure our interactions in a way that we believe can be most beneficial to our clients.”
One important area for the firm is supporting start-up managers and helping them instil best practices from day one. “Many have never run their own business before and have no experience dealing with tax and regulatory compliance issues. We provide advice on how to run their business so that the transition to becoming registered is seamless.”
Building strong relationships lies at the heart of the firm and has helped it cement a higher than average retention rate within the industry. The goal is to work with clients long term, and this means being disciplined when taking on start-up managers.
As Rosenthal confirms: “I’ve talked some people out of starting a fund or suggested a more cost-effective solution, testing the waters to start. It’s not a good investment spending a significant amount of money during the initial start-up phase if your strategy doesn’t work quite as well as you hoped, or doesn’t appeal to potential investors. We are selective when working with new managers. A large percentage of our referral business comes from our existing client base.”