Anchin Block & Anchin LLP - Best Global Accounting Firm

For the sixth consecutive year, the Best Global Accounting Firm is Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP. With a staff of more than 350 and numerous specialised industry and service teams, Anchin is a full-service accounting, tax and advisory firm that provides investment companies, privately-held businesses, and HNW individuals with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional services. Jeffrey Rosenthal, CPA, is Partner- in-Charge of Anchin's Financial Services Group. 2015 was, he says, a `breakthrough year'. 

"We saw a significant increase in the number of startup funds, and a growing trend in family offices establishing funds for investing purposes and having those funds audited. Both of these growth areas created an expanding a market for our services," confirms Rosenthal (pictured). 

To address these important developments, Anchin Block & Anchin has supplemented its due diligence support for funds, ensuring it has knowledgeable, experienced personnel available to help its clients. "We are also engaging a growing number of large and established funds seeking a more hands-on partnership from their service providers. The consolidation in the accounting industry has led many existing funds to seek alternatives to the big four and national firms," says Rosenthal. 

Anchin prides itself on providing clients with high involvement from senior personnel as well as frequent communication with fund managers. This is a key point if one considers that many start-up fund managers may have extensive trading experience but little business acumen. 

"We assist them with issues and help them avoid common pitfalls of setting up a business. We can advise on structuring, hiring, budgeting, thinking forward about growth, creating short- and long-term plans, and establishing best practices that include preparing to register with the SEC as an investment adviser. Adopting best practices early on is not only beneficial from a compliance standpoint, but also helps with investor relations. We also help our clients evaluate whether launching a fund is truly the best strategy for what they want to accomplish and make sure that they evaluate all of their options before making that important decision," explains Rosenthal. 

The SEC plans to focus on expenses and fees, in addition to cybersecurity preparedness, when the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) embarks on its latest round of inspections. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for hedge funds to have a clear audit trail, not only for the SEC, but also to be able to communicate clearly with auditors and investors and show support of what they have done. 

"This is especially true in the valuation process," says Rosenthal. "When a fund's investments include more than Level One or easy-to-value securities, the methodology that must be used to value less liquid securities is more complex. It is therefore important to make sure that the fund has thoroughly documented support and has consistent, well thought out and auditable procedures in place. 

"With respect to cybersecurity, we have many firm-wide checks and balances in place and are well prepared. We strongly encourage our clients to do likewise and advise them accordingly. We recommend they create a written information security policy (WISP) that articulates their security policies and procedures, clearly assigns responsibilities, and describes the monitoring and testing of their systems."

On winning the award, Rosenthal comments: "To say that we go beyond the expected is not just a catchphrase; it is what we actually do."

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