SEI – Best North American Hedge Fund Administrator
Last year SEI grew its business across three client segments: 1) New clients, 2) Existing clients consolidating their administration services with SEI and 3) Existing clients utilising more of SEI’s product offerings.
“We’ve achieved much more market acceptance of some of the innovative solutions we’ve rolled out. The SEI Manager Dashboard is the key entryway that our manager clients use to gather insight from their data, whether it be from a security or fund-level perspective. Managers have found this particularly useful as they can customise it to their specific requirements. Linked to this is the SEI Investor Dashboard, an application that delivers transparency to our clients’ end investors,” confirms Jim Cass (pictured), VP and Managing Director, SEI Investment Manager Services.
Currently, SEI administers approximately USD290bn for alternative funds. “We have another USD100bn in middle office support. Factor in our traditional funds business, which is another USD300bn and we’re knocking on USD700bn in total assets,” says Ross Ellis, VP of the Knowledge Partnership within SEI Investment Manager Services.
SEI takes a platform approach in servicing its clients but its proficiency is based not solely on best-in-class technology; its real expertise lies in how it uses that technology to build customised solutions. As Cass says, the firm does not take a ‘one size fits all’ approach. “Each client has certain customisations that they require. The platform we’ve built is flexible in terms of the types of reporting options available to both managers and their investors while we also adopt best practices to help build greater operational efficiencies to benefit the firms that appoint us as their administrator.
“We believe there is a new operational frontier out there today where capabilities truly matter yet there’s still a lot of fee pressure in the marketplace, affecting managers’ bottom line. Managers aren’t afraid to spend on enhancing their operational infrastructure but they are seeking a service provider that can provide value – that is scale, flexibility and best practices – and we feel we can offer all three of those.”
“We’ve built a flexible operating platform that allows us to use different technology but technology is just one piece of it. What’s equally important is having an experienced team of employees and a proven process that our technology can support rather than the other way around,” says Cass. “Add a layer of thought leadership and we have a well-rounded solution that enables our clients to better focus on their producing proprietary value to their constituents.”
This agility is vital given that hedge fund managers are increasingly looking for product proliferation to cater for different investors. Even though managers now find themselves running multiple versions of the same strategy this hasn’t proved problematic to SEI.
“We have clients who started off with one hedge fund and who now have multi-strategy funds, QIAIFs, liquid alternatives,” says Ellis. “Our platform can handle each of their vehicles and consolidate the data at a top-level management perspective as well as by portfolio, so it gives them real flexibility and insight into their both their strategies and their investors.”
On winning the award Cass comments: “We’re honoured, as it’s further validation that our solution has been accepted in the marketplace. Being recognised is very humbling for SEI but it’s not in our DNA to rest on our laurels – we’ll continue to work hard for our clients.”