Enabling fund managers to focus on achieving alpha

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CohnReznick: Best Audit Firm – In the current environment, launching a fund requires more preplanning than ever before. Along with successfully raising capital, there are various other key factors which play a crucial role in making sure the launch is successful. Establishing adequate operational support is a critical part of the process. Bill Pidgeon, Co-Leader of CohnReznick’s Financial Services Industry practice, comments: “Launching a fund takes more than just knowing how to gain investment alpha. Planning around achieving operational alpha is just as important. Managers need to be able to identify compatible partners; having a strong supporting cast at launch is crucial to our clients’ success.”

Investors’ due diligence processes have become more rigorous than ever before and regardless of the size and stage of a manager’s fund; they expect a certain level of sophistication when it comes to business operations.

CohnReznick helps clients position themselves to attract capital and supports them in overcoming the challenges they face. One of these struggles is the heightened level of uncertainty caused by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The CohnReznick team of hedge fund professionals is committed to share the insights and guidance necessary to manage this uncertain terrain.

Pidgeon also outlines the increased emphasis on cybersecurity: “While financial services organisations have always been a target for sophisticated hackers, their capabilities are breaking new ground as they advance rapidly. Cybersecurity threats will vary in nature and scale as a function of a fund’s vulnerabilities and “crown jewels”, that is its confidential information, personal data of customers, critical systems, proprietary algorithms, trading book, and vulnerabilities.”

In view of this rising focus, CohnReznick takes a strategic approach in protecting clients’ data assets, intellectual property, and brand reputation. “We combine established best in class risk management approaches with the latest cybersecurity technologies. This enables us to assess cyber risks, conduct threat analysis and breach detection, develop cost-effective security architectures and governance procedures. So, should a breach occur we are able to respond quickly to mitigate damages,” outlines Pidgeon.

The firm understands its clients’ time is valuable. Marc Wolf, Financial Services Industry practice co-leader points out: “Keeping that perfect balance between focusing on the portfolio and running the operational side of the business is one of the toughest tasks that every manager faces. Clarifying your long- and short-term vision with clear goal-setting and proper planning is one part of the equation. Developing relationships with service providers who understand their clients’ vision and business and are willing and able to provide the required level of support will help protect and grow value.” 

Wolf emphasises that CohnReznick’s greatest areas of growth in the past year have come as a result of expanding its financial services partner base and geographic footprint so as to deliver services to clients that exceed expectations. “We continue to attract both emerging and seasoned fund managers as clients. Funds are right-sizing their service providers based upon professional fees, market acceptability, technical expertise and industry experience. We have designed a client service model that helps fund managers achieve their vision.”

CohnReznick plans to sustain the growth of its alternative investment funds practice. Recently, the firm added resources in California, Chicago and New York. Wolf says: “We plan to continue our focus on serving emerging and established fund managers. “We provide services such as structuring advice and consulting on partnership agreements during the start-up phase.  Once operational, we assist the fund through things like ongoing tax planning and financial reporting guidance, also assessing internal controls and risk management processes to improve effectiveness and efficiency.” 


William D Pidgeon
Partner, Co-Leader – Financial Services Industry, CohnReznick

William Pidgeon CPA, serves as co-leader of CohnReznick’s Financial Services Industry practice. With more than 24 years of diversified public accounting experience, including 21 years of specific financial services industry experience, he provides accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to hedge funds (including offshore entities), fund of funds, and Registered Investment Advisers. 

Marc J Wolf
Partner, Co-Leader – Financial Services Industry, CohnReznick

Marc Wolf, CPA, is a partner in the Accounting and Assurance department, he has more than 25 years of diverse experience in audit, tax, and consulting services specialising in hedge funds, fund of funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds, private REITs, Regulated Investment Companies (RICS), registered investment advisors, and broker-dealers.

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