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EisnerAmper LLP – Best North American Accounting Firm

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With 1,500 professionals and 180 partners and over 250 employees dedicated to the financial services practice, EisnerAmper LLP has the breadth to handle global engagements and provide comprehensive guidance and support to its roster of hedge fund clients. It is one of the top 20 largest accounting firms in the United States and the fifth largest in the state of New York, after the Big 4.

EisnerAmper currently services over 1,300 hedge funds and 200 private equity/venture capital sponsors that have over 1,000 funds and special purpose vehicles. Whomever the client, the firm always strives to speak their language and avoid using technical accounting jargon. 

A “clients first” approach is central to the EisnerAmper philosophy. According to Frank Napolitani, Director, Financial Services at EisnerAmper LLP, EisnerAmper provides Big 4 experience and sophistication, “with the rates and personal attention more characteristic of a smaller firm”.

Activity has been consistent year-over-year within EisnerAmper’s financial services practice for new launches. Over the past 12 months (through June 30th), 70 per cent of these launches have been equity strategies, 20 per cent credit strategies and 10 per cent macro/other. 

“There was a considerable uptick of equity strategies in 2017 which we believe were buoyed by the US equity markets,” says Napolitani. He notes that around 60 per cent of managers are launching with domestic-only structures with the balance being either traditional master feeder or mini-master structures, with Cayman the preferred offshore domicile.

“Over 80 per cent of new launches are offering multiple share classes with a founder’s class with discounted fee structures with an extended hard lockup of 1 – 2 years, often based on the liquidity of the underlying portfolio of securities,” confirms Napolitani, adding: “The volume of new launches, month to month, has remained pretty consistent. Since I joined EisnerAmper two-and-a-half years ago, we’ve seen 10 to 15 new launches every month.”

Legal, accounting, fund administration and prime brokerage are the four legs of the stool when it comes to supporting hedge fund activities. To continue its expansion efforts, last October EisnerAmper opened a new office in Dallas to build out its presence in the Mid-West, a key market after the US east coast and San Francisco.

EisnerAmper goes way beyond merely providing accounting and tax advice. Napolitani and his team spend time helping new managers establish best practices for Operational Due Diligence (“ODD”) purposes, in order to present themselves in the best possible light to prospective investors.

“How do you do things from a front-, middle- and back-office, legal/compliance perspective? ODD is the back-end of the investment process for an allocator. You’ve got to be just as tight on that side of the equation as you are on the investment process. I had lunch recently with one client who is currently negotiating a USD50 million seed deal. He asked how he should staff the firm when the seed deal comes in. 

“I asked a number of probing questions and pointed out there needs to be a Church and State arrangement i.e. a separation of duties between running the portfolio and running the business. Any business distractions that inhibit how one runs their portfolio could potentially affect returns and the growth of the business,” explains Napolitani. 

The business consulting service is a bundled part of EisnerAmper’s service and overall client experience, which clearly differentiates it from other middle market competitors.

On winning this year’s award, Napolitani remarks: “We’re extremely thankful to our clients and the wider community who voted for us. The amount of referrals we get each month is, I think, testament to how we treat all of EisnerAmper’s clients and service providers.” 

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