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ATU enjoys organic growth on the back of restructuring

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ATU Fund Administrators (BVI) Limited was the first fund administrator to receive a license from the Financial Services Commission in the BVI on 30th December, 1997. By the early 2000s it had grown to become the largest fund administrator on the islands. 

The firm grew steadily until the financial crisis struck in 2008 and in the aftermath, it was decided that the company, which was part of a joint venture with Liechtenstein-based VP Bank and Allgemeines Treuunternehmen (ATU), would be acquired by ATU in full. During the same period, its sister company, ATU General Trust (BVI) Limited, was experiencing very positive growth and it was this strong reputation, characterised by excellence of service that the Group's board wanted to bring to ATU Fund Administrators. 

This ushered in a period of restructuring, with Niels Herbold (pictured) being appointed Manager in July 2014 to bring the firm up to modern day standards. ATU Fund Administrators entered into cooperation with ATU General Trust to capitalise upon synergies that existed between their respective business lines and so far, it appears to be bearing fruit. 

"When I joined, the firm's AuA was around USD400 million. It is now approximately USD1.4 billion. We support all types of funds requiring daily, weekly, and monthly NAVs but much of the growth has come from PE-like funds and real estate funds that tend to rely less on frequent valuation and pricing data. They tend to be used by small groups of investors with a specific investment objective, in a particular framework, to facilitate a corporate or tax benefit. 

"Going forward, we want to pierce the glass ceiling and start to bring in more traditional hedge funds, that require periodic (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly) NAVs, onto our client list," says Herbold. 

Much of the growth has been organic, thanks in part to its close relationship with ATU General Trust. The synergies allow them to collectively offer a full and integrated suite of funds services; from the establishment of different types of investment funds to providing ongoing administration services. "In the old structure the available synergies were not being utilised, whilst now we can offer our clients a full scope of services, tailored to their professional needs, from one centralised location in the BVI," explains Herbold.

Not that ATU is looking to get ahead of itself. Whilst there is a clear blueprint for growth, the goal is to onboard a steady number of appropriate clients. The clientele that ATU Fund Administrators is aiming to support are those managers running anything less than USD300-500 million, which increasingly are being overlooked by larger administrators. "It has to be sustainable, gradual growth," emphasises Herbold.

Herbold concludes that a big focus will be on providing clients with tailored services. 

"We utilise a state-of-the-art accounting system (PFS PAXUS), and we can facilitate all the usual back- and middle-office requirements of funds. Another important point for us is to make sure we get to know our clients. Wherever they are in the world, we want to meet them personally to better understand their needs and limitations so that they get exactly what they require, at very competitive prices. Also, the personal relationship fosters a better working relationship; something that is highly appreciated by our clients and benefits everyone in the long term.

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