Growing demand for data access and delivery
UMB Fund Services: Best Administrator - Technology – As managers seek new ways to generate alpha for investors, they look for new and unique opportunities. As a result, funds will look to strong third-party partners who are committed to delivering the comprehensive solutions to support their objectives and the needs of their investors.
“We expect the future to continue to be centred around technologies that allow funds to scale quickly and improve the overall investor experience,” notes Jill Calton, Executive Vice President and Director of Alternative Investments at UMB Fund Services, “Technology demands have increased over the past year, perhaps heightened by the move to a remote work environment. Meeting growing demand for data access and delivery has become an important part of our service offering, whether that is in the form of portal access or delivery via APIs.”
Calton outlines that UMB has experienced steady growth in all areas of its business: “Market volatility and disruption due to Covid-19 and the 2020 election have led to opportunities for credit and structured credit strategies. More than ever before, investment managers are seeking our support meeting regulatory requirements such as AML, Form PF and others.”
As the impact of the pandemic persists, Calton notes: “The virtual workplace will be even more important. Employees will expect flexibility and options to do their job from anywhere. The speed in which the industry moves to reliance on technology to interact and conduct business will continue to accelerate, and new norms will be accepted.”
In this environment, Calton says funds will look to third-party providers to support their lean operations. UMB is already seeing additional requests for outsourcing functions beyond accounting and investor servicing. The firm plans to continue investing heavily in technology and platforms to support the initiatives and needs of its clients.
Client demands for data have moved beyond monthly or quarterly reporting, shifting to real-time access to relevant fund information. Recent enhancements to the UMB’s online portal, AltPro®, provided hedge fund clients broader access to their data and customisable dashboards, delivering quick and convenient access to the data that is most important to asset managers.
“We recognise data is vital for our clients and we are always enhancing the ways they can access it. We know their data is just that – their data,” Calton explains, “UMB recognised early – more than 10 years ago – that managers would need far more than just ‘reporting’. That recognition was a leading reason for our decision to build, AltPro®, our fully proprietary accounting and investor reporting system for alternative funds, which we maintain with internal software-engineering experts.
“Because UMB has long had a single, robust system and in-house technical experts, our clients have always been ahead of the curve in the industry with respect to their ability to access and make use of not only reports and document repositories, but the underlying data itself. “
Consequently, the firm is readily able to respond to managers’ data requests and, just as importantly, managers can perform searches, run complex queries and export data.
Calton expects technology and innovation to remain UMB’s main focus in the year ahead: “As clients look to third-parties for more operational support, we will continue development of technologies to support the end-to-end fund service model. Automation and straight-through processing that can reduce risk, provide greater transparency and easy access to data is an area of specific focus.”
EVP/Executive Director Alternative Investments, UMB Fund Services
Jill leads the alternative investment servicing business of UMB Fund Services, which offers a full range of back-office services for alternative investment funds. Her responsibilities include organisational leadership, strategic development and fiscal management. This includes overseeing the teams that provide fund accounting, administration, investor reporting, tax and audit services for the company’s alternative investment clients. She previously served as a managing director overseeing one of these client service teams.