Superior client experience through tech investment
UMB Fund Services: Best Hedge Fund Administrator – A top priority for UMB Fund Services is the client experience. One of the essential building blocks is a considerable investment in technology which helps ensure UMB’s clients have at their disposal a wide range of tools to support their own product offering to investors.
“We are continually enhancing our online client portal which overlays our proprietary accounting system,” explains Jill Calton, SVP/Executive Director of Alternative Investments, UMB Fund Services.
“Early next year, we plan to release enhanced functionality and a completely new user interface. We are also investing in continued enhancements into the foreseeable future which will provide clients with a global view, access to fund and investor data across all products, enhanced reporting features and ability to customise views. Essentially, clients will be able to slice and dice the information we hold for them in whatever way they want,” she adds.
The client experience sits at the heart of UMB’s approach and the firm aims to align people, process and technology to allow fund managers to focus on meeting their primary investment and growth objectives.
Being able to maintain complex fund structures and investment portfolios on a system that can reduce risk and offer automation has been one of the key benefits our clients enjoy. Putting an emphasis on technology means eliminating manual processes and workarounds that introduce risk into the processes and create inefficiencies. Timely access to reliable data is hugely beneficial as investors are seeking greater transparency and expecting information to be delivered faster than ever before. “Data delivery is extremely important to our clients. We are developing tools to connect our data to their platforms. Clients need to be able to transport data and automate processes to reduce risk. To do this, we need to standardise and normalise all of the data to make it work for them.”
Automation is another vital component of the alternative investment business. Calton describes the work the firm is doing in this regard: “We’re working on standardising the way we bring in information from underlying custodians. It is important to build a streamlined and automated reconciliation tool that feeds our accounting system.”
Because of the investments UMB is making, clients have efficient and timely access to data Calton says: “We want our clients to have current applicable information for their funds as soon as possible and allow them to meet requests their investors have. With demands for access to information and transparency, everyone is working faster and smarter than ever before.”
The firm is also working on a web-based tool for its alternative investment clients which would give them direct access to their underlying portfolio data. “The data we store, collect and process belongs to our clients. We’re focused on maintaining and presenting that data in a way that is accurate, timely and useful for them and their investors.”
UMB understands that delivering high-quality service can be at odds with the fee pressure facing the entire asset servicing industry. “Implementing scalable solutions, using technology to streamline and automate processes and prioritising talent retention are key to overcoming those challenges.” Calton notes: “We’re looking at ways we can scale for growth and continue to offer the best value and service to our clients. We understand everyone is experiencing fee pressure which is impacting the entire industry.”
What sets the firm apart is the financial strength and service breadth of a large financial services organisation, combined with a responsiveness, accessibility and service-first approach that is centred around meeting client needs.
SVP, Executive Director of Alternative Investments, UMB Fund Services
Jill Calton provides leadership and oversight to all of the Company’s alternative investment client-servicing teams. Prior to her current role, Jill served as a managing director for UMBFS, overseeing one of the client service teams. She joined the company in 1999, having previously worked as an auditor with KPMG serving hedge funds and other clients. She has worked in the fund industry since 1997.