Opus Fund Services - Best North American Hedge Fund Administrator

Multi-award-winning hedge fund administrator Opus Fund Services was established in Bermuda in 2006, subsequently expanding its footprint into the US with offices in Chicago (2008), San Francisco (2009), New York (2013) and Portland (2014). It serves over 250 fund managers and 425-plus funds with a combined AUM approaching USD14 billion.

2017 has been another strong period of year-on-year growth for Opus but of greater importance, says CEO Robin Bedford (pictured), is the establishment of a Dublin office (regulatory licence pending) to support Europe and a new overnight processing office based in Manila, Philippines.

"Those two developments have been real game changers for us. We've gone from being a largely US-focused fund administrator, to a global business," says Bedford. "Many European managers may choose to set up offshore fund structures, yet want real-time support. Our Dublin operation will meet this objective. 

"We plan to take the operating model which has worked so well in the US market, and apply it to Europe. I'm confident we will shake up that market."

Since Opus was established a decade ago, it has succeeded in being a genuinely disruptive force in the marketplace. From day one, Opus has embraced the disruptive nature of FinTech to sharpen operational efficiency and respond to the demand for more innovative services.

"Our lean operating model has resulted in a significantly lower cost base, whilst delivering a highly standardised and automated product. That's the disruptive element. Our competitors talk about this being a race to the bottom, implying that everyone is slashing costs and service delivery is adversely impacted. I say it's actually the opposite. There is a new breed of administrator that can provide traditional services, better, and at a fraction of the cost. We are driving that change," comments Bedford.

Every Opus employee is responsible for innovation and encouraged to identify potential opportunities to improve service delivery. Opus even has a dedicated innovation/technology team, which now includes ten full-time programmers and analysts, to investigate the ideas identified by the team to solve complex business challenges.

"That's the culture we've built. Everyone is responsible to identify ways to constantly improve," says Bedford.

Opus however is not stripping out the costs of client service. After all, no-one wants their client relations contact to be a computer. "Our focus is on reducing our back-office headcount, investing in highly skilled client-facing employees. Our goal is to provide a value-add offering to our clients," adds Bedford.

"Our pricing model is focused on identifying cost drivers which impact the service to our client. These drivers will determine our fees. Typically costs, and therefore fees charged, are impacted either by manual tasks where automation has not yet been possible, or where there are incremental risks associated with a particular client. Our focus on scaling through technology and process means that our minimums tend to be very low. This greatly appeals to start-up and emerging managers where value is a key factor in their decision making."

Opus understands the critical importance of technology as a driving force of change in all aspects of the fund administration industry. 

"We are constantly identifying ways to improve, ensuring that we continue to redefine the industry norms and challenge the incumbents," says Bedford, who, on winning this year's award, concludes:

"Winning this award is a direct recognition of the hours of hard work put in by the team to constantly innovate our service offering and execute on our strategy of being the most innovative fund administrator in the marketplace."

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