UMB Fund Services - Best Liquid Alternatives ‘40 Act’ Fund Administrator
During 2018 UMB Fund Services continued to see growth in liquid alternatives and was able to further solidify its position as a leading administrator for registered alternative products. Over the course of the year the firm successfully partnered with clients to bring to the marketplace complex and innovative registered products, such as unlisted closed-end funds (also known as interval or tender-offer funds), as interest in these products continues to grow.
As a well-established asset servicing business, UMB Fund Services allows clients to benefit from the financial strength and service breadth of a large financial services organisation, while taking advantage of the responsiveness, accessibility and consultative approach of a high-touch service provider.
In 2018 UMB Fund Services was involved with over 10 new funds in the unlisted closed-end space that launched or have plans to launch. In a universe still gaining popularity, the firm now services about a third of the market. Maureen Quill (pictured), EVP, Executive Director of Registered Funds at UMB Fund Services, says: “The growth we have experienced in this area is tied to our strong service offerings for both registered and unregistered products. We leverage our decades of experience in both registered and alternative products to bring our best thinking to servicing and helping asset managers to successfully run these products.”
Quill explains one of the top challenges facing asset managers in the unlisted closed-end fund space is advisor and investor education. “In the past year or so we have seen our asset manager clients evolving their marketing focus toward training and educating advisors. Educated advisors better understand how to position these more complex products within their clients’ portfolios and how to introduce these structures to their end-client,” says Quill. “We recognise the importance of education in this space, which is why we’ve invested resources in research and white papers to support our clients.”
Quill identifies private equity as another growth area for the firm. “We have invested in our technology to meet the needs for customised reporting that often come with servicing private equity funds,” Quill says.
Going into 2019 UMB Fund Services is focused on further leveraging the strength of its parent company, UMB Financial Corporation, in support of its asset management clients. Quill says: “This relationship provides access to lines of credit, escrow services and more. We have a unique ability to support clients with a broad variety of services across our institutional, commercial and wealth management divisions at UMB. In our asset servicing business, we also continue to invest in automation and straight-through processing, in order to reduce cost and risk for our clients.”
The firm aims to be an administrator for the future, to support clients in raising assets and be on the vanguard of product innovation. UMB Fund Services can quickly meet the needs which arise from new and complex products that asset managers want to deliver to market.
“In an increasingly commoditised industry, we are focused on showing asset managers the benefits of a high-touch client service experience partnered with robust technology, while being responsive and collaborative. Our technology allows us to respond and act quickly as regulations and reporting needs change and evolve. We believe this is all critical to being a leading administrator now and in the future,” says Quill.
In reaction to winning the Hedgeweek award, Quill says: “We are grateful for continued recognition in this category. Our team works hard to deliver expertise and a client experience that is unmatched in our industry.”