Over the last 18 months, Calamatta Cuschieri Fund Services (CCFS) has seen the number of funds it administers grow steadily as the Mediterranean island continues to attract a fair deal of new business, enticing both start-up & seasoned fund managers. Michael Galea, CCFS’s Head explains that the influx of interest extends across a wide range of strategies from plain vanilla long-only strategies through to fund-of-funds and high frequency trading strategies involving derivatives.
“We have a good mix of funds on our books. A majority of these are Professional Investor Funds (PIFs) but we also administer retail funds, including our proprietary funds, which are sold under the UCITS regime,” says Galea.
Having the right operational platform is vital to the success of any fund administrator given their need to accommodate myriad fund structures of differing complexity. In 2009, CCFS partnered up with leading global solutions provider Linedata to provide the backbone of its systems architecture.
Of equal importance to CCFS was finding the right talent. Not only has it built a team of specialists with deep experience in fund accounting and transfer agency services, CCFS has also been able to leverage on the excellent relationships it has built with fund houses throughout the years.
Galea explains that, “Our offering is particular in that clients can expect to receive a tailor-made solution where we are able to adapt our services to meet their expectations. Furthermore, we pride ourselves on speaking the same language as our clients, the investment managers, as we too have been managing clients’ assets for many years.”
One trend that Galea has picked upon is that of larger investment managers coming to Malta to ‘test the waters’.
“They want to see whether the service providers are up to scratch. To see whether the PIF regime is as robust as it is made out to be. I think by far the large majority have been satisfied as they’ve come back and made a number of additional sub-fund launches. Others have even gone so far as to set up management companies of their own.
“I’m bullish that this trend can continue notwithstanding the extremely challenging environment around us.”
It’s understandable that managers take this cautious approach to Malta. After all, both Ireland and Luxembourg have significantly longer histories and are more established names in the investment funds world.
“Notwithstanding the good work that’s been done in recent years, Malta is still a relatively new proposition,” adds Galea, noting that particularly with respect to UCITS funds the large asset management houses have been using the likes of Luxembourg for many years. “It is indeed one of our biggest challenges to change this perception in the market.”
Nevertheless, UCITS is a growing part of Malta’s fund regime that CCFS is well placed to capitalise on. Galea confirms that its investment management arm has recently converted its four sub-funds into UCITS.
“We already administer a good number of the 64 UCITS funds domiciled in Malta and definitely see this as an area of future growth both for Malta as well as for CCFS.”
Galea also sees the AIFM Directive as an opportunity for the firm to grow, confirming that it is assessing the implications of integrating the depository ‘lite’ offering within the scope of its services.
“As fund administrators we believe ourselves to be appropriately positioned to assist managers with their disclosure and compliance requirements both to investors and regulators alike. Certain synergies could also be explored together with custodians to share the ‘burden’ and ensure that AIFMD rules around cash management and asset safekeeping, for example, are met.”
For more information on Calamatta Cuschieri Fund Services or other services offered by the Calamatta Cuschieri Group visit www.cc.com.mt  or contact Mr Michael Galea CCFS’s Head at [email protected]