Thomas Murray Alternative Investment Services (TMAIS) has launched a tool aimed at assisting the evaluation and selection of hedge fund service providers.
TMAIS hopes that the launch of its Service Providers request for Proposal e-Tool (e-RFP Tool) will bring additional controls, rigour and transparency to the industry as institutional investors increasingly invest in hedge funds and funds of hedge funds.
TMAIS has been working in close co-operation with major institutional funds, such as Railpen Investments and other groups including Man Investments, to develop and implement alternative investments specific evaluation and selection questionnaires, due diligence processes, and rating methodologies.
"To date over 75 service providers in the hedge funds industry have been reviewed using the TMAIS e-RFP Tool," says Roger Fishwick, Thomam Murray's director of ratings.
TMAIS' service provider questionnaires currently cover custodial, fund accounting and transfer agency services. These questionnaires (which may be supplemented by user specific questions), together with the e-RFP Tool to issue questionnaires and hold the responses, are available to industry participants via http://ais.thomasmurray.com .
Users register on the website http://ais.thomasmurray.com  to gain access to the Thomas Murray questionnaires. A list of service providers is set out in a matrix by service type and jurisdiction and can be used when preparing a list of candidates for inclusion in a particular review.
Following validation of the user, TMAIS will issue the RFP to the selected candidates and provide users with on-line access to the participating service providers' responses. Users of the site are able to conduct their own analysis of the responses, carry out due diligence and selection or engage TMAIS to do this on their behalf.
"Our value proposition is based on our ability to assess, analyse and rate Service Providers in an objective and independent way," says Fiswick. "Where users engage TMAIS to support the analysis of providers, we will provide ratings of relevant Service Providers."
TMAIS is rolling out its e-RFP platform to standardise processes, shorten response times, reduce costs and improve the analysis associated with the Service Provider selection process in the hedge funds industry.
"Our aim is to facilitate the examination of Service Providers including credentials, services offered and their risk positions," says TMAIS director Joanna Roemer-Babelek. "A lot of Service Providers are very keen to see the implementation of the TMAIS selection support process."