Blog   Tagged ‘UMB Fund Services’

The New Normal: Outsourced Private Equity Administration

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Private equity continues to gain popularity among investors. According to Preqin the number of private equity funds seeking capital hit a record 1,908 funds at the beginning of Q2 2017.(1) We anticipate that number will continue to grow as investors seek alternatives to more traditional equity and fixed income investments. At UMB Fund Services (UMB), we see that demand reflected in our own business.

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A Case for Outsourcing

As more institutional and retail investors take interest in private equity funds, the need for transparency and accountability increases as do the corresponding reporting requirements. This level of reporting requires a great deal of administrative support and experience.

We are seeing an increase in the number of private equity managers who are outsourcing their back office administration to gain efficiencies, reduce risk and meet regulatory and compliance requirements. Given the various demands and complexities that managers face, many find that outsourcing allows them to spend more time focusing on the fund instead of administrative functions.

There are several benefits of outsourcing that managers should consider, including:

  • Gain efficiencies as providing back-office services to complex fund structures and complex investment types are a strength of fund administrators;
  • Reduce risk by benefitting from proven controls, processes and technologies that can be costly and time consuming to implement in their own shops;
  • Meet regulatory requirements by staying ahead of the curve and responding quickly to evolving regulatory pressures;
  • Meet investor demand by satisfying requests for independent fund and investor valuation.

Overall, the greatest benefits of allowing a third-party administrator to manage the administrative functions for a private equity fund are increased efficiency and reduced operational burden.

Partnering for Success

There are still managers that are leery of outsourcing due to the perceived loss of control, lack of understanding about their product by the administrator or the need for transparency Those concerns are best addressed by partnering with an administrator who is willing to take the time to understand your fund and embrace your unique needs.

In making this decision, managers should conduct extensive due diligence to ensure that the administrator is reputable and has proven policies, procedures and controls in place to ensure all aspects of fund administration will be conducted in accordance with the manager’s expectations.

Key Administrative Services

An experienced administrator can provide a wealth of services to private equity managers, including:

Full back office administration

  • Accounting
  • Tax preparation, compliance and reporting
  • Investor servicing
  • Custody services (2)
  • Product launches/conversions via turnkey solutions

Critical to all of this is the technology platform supporting each function – a key differentiator in the administrator space. Private equity funds are each unique and the technology supporting these funds needs to reflect their specific needs. Quality administrators in this space have technology that is customizable and tailored to manager needs while also evolving with the industry demand for electronic data.

Interested to gain more insights from thought leaders at UMB Fund Services‡? Check out our News and Insights section and follow us on LinkedIn‡ to stay informed of the latest trends in fund administration.

1. Preqin Quarterly Update Private Equity & Venture Captial Q1 2017
2. Typically provided by an affiliated bank or broker-dealer.

Jill Calton is senior vice president, Director of Alternative Investment Operations, for UMB Fund Services and provides leadership and oversight to all of the company’s alternative investment client servicing teams.

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Product Evolution Critical to Long-Term Success

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Challenging Landscape

More than ever before, investment managers are in a challenging environment that is prompting them to bring a more diversified product set to clients. In addition, this diversified product set needs to be rooted in a unique investment philosophy. This combination is at the core of being a successful manager and it is a key component to attracting and retaining investors.

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It will come as no surprise that 2016 was a tough year for mutual funds. According to a February 2017 report by FUSE Research Network,‡ mutual fund outflows reached $127 billion in 2016 – greatly surpassing the $36.5 billion in outflows seen in 2015. These outflows hit almost every category of mutual funds with U.S. equity funds taking the brunt. The only exceptions were taxable bond, municipal bond and commodities funds.

Survival in this ultra-competitive space is going to require an open mind and willingness to evolve product offerings and mix while continuing to hone in on a unique investment perspective – a challenge to be sure.

Define the Opportunity

Before launching any new products, it is critical to understand your target market and to gauge how best to position your firm in this rapidly changing environment. Get focused on where you have real opportunity based on market demand and product performance. We know that “shelf space” is limited and any new product needs to respond to a niche demand. Understanding the opportunity in the marketplace first requires that managers understand their clientele.

We continue to see the need for depth and focus. Managers cannot be everything to everyone and often try to do so to their detriment. Honing in on the real opportunity requires critical analysis of the current client base and the marketplace’s appetite for a given product. Essentially, knowing what you do really well and marrying that with what investors are actively seeking from a product perspective will provide the best likelihood for success.

Product Evolution and Consultative Approach

Not long ago, diversification meant a mix of equity and fixed income with exposure to both domestic and international companies. Today, following and in response to a prolonged low interest rate environment and an often irrational and volatile market, investors are looking to a different product mix for better and more predictable returns.

We see some managers taking their existing successful strategies and finding new opportunities to repackage those in the marketplace by launching ETFs, continuously offered closed-end funds, collective trusts and liquid alternatives, all while weighing passive versus active offerings.

As mutual fund launches continue to decline year-over-year, we continue to work with managers to determine the best way to package their strategy for ultimate success.  The industry is seeing an increased focus on alternative strategies and the transfer agency is evolving to support a broader product set.

Some key questions we ask clients to consider when evaluating new product opportunities include:

  • Why do you want to launch this product?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How does your unique investment strategy complement this product type?
  • What does the marketplace opportunity look like for this strategy?
  • What sets you apart from the competition?
  • How will it be marketed/distributed?
  • What is a competitive/attractive fee structure? 

Successful product launches require the assistance of an experienced fund administrator. The ever-changing regulatory environment partnered with the ongoing reporting and service demands of these products is complex. It is important to identify a fund administrator that has experience in that particular product offering and works as a true extension of your operation.

Scott Schulenburg oversees the Investor Services & Transfer Agency functions for UMB Fund Services.

Interested to gain more insights from thought leaders at UMB Fund Services‡? Check out our News and Insights section and follow us on LinkedIn‡ to stay informed of the latest trends in fund administration. 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

Scott oversees the Investor Services & Transfer Agency functions for UMB Fund Services. Scott previously served the Company in the roles of Client Relations Manager, Global Relationship Manager, and Vice President / Head of Client Servicing & Operations. Before joining UMB Fund Services in 2005, he served as a relationship manager and director of business development with a national broker-dealer. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

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Meet the Leadership Series: Maureen Quill (UMB Fund Services Chief Operating Officer)

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Q&A with Maureen

Get to know UMB’s leadership a little better. Nearly 20 years ago, Maureen Quill joined UMB Fund Services which just celebrated its 25th anniversary and is consistently named one of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Places to Work. She was recently featured in Milwaukee Business Journal’s Women of Influence series.
UMB Fund Services Maureen Quill

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Tell us about yourself
I was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa.  I went to Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. I graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration degree with a concentration in management and finance. I met my husband, Mike, on a blind date at the end of my freshman year. Mike is from the Chicago area, but he transferred to Notre Dame from Loras College which is located in Dubuque. My family and extended family are Notre Dame fans (fanatics may be a better description) and many members of my family graduated from Loras – destiny seemed to play a hand in our meeting! We married soon after college.

My first job was working in the Children’s Room of the public library in Dubuque. I worked there for two and a half years during high school and loved it. As an avid reader, the library was the perfect fit for me.  My first job out of college was as a call center representative at a mutual fund company.

I worked for that mutual fund company in Chicago for five years, in Kansas City for almost six years and in Milwaukee for a year. Then I worked for Sunstone for five years before UMB acquired Sunstone in 2001. I have spent my entire 30 year career in back office operations and management.

What about your past shaped who you are today?
Maureen Quill - UMB Fund Services
My parents were both ahead of their time. My mother worked full time as an ophthalmologist technician and my father was an accountant for Deere & Co. My mom loved her work and didn’t retire until age 75. My dad was always very supportive of her career. They set a good example of marriage being an equal partnership for my siblings and me. My parents infused strong moral and ethical values and expected us to get a good education and contribute to our communities. They encouraged my siblings and me to work hard and accomplish much.

Tell us about your family.
Maureen Quill with husband Mike
My husband Mike and I will be married 30 years in December.  Mike is a marketing consultant for small to mid-size manufacturing businesses. We have four children. Mitchell is 25 and in his last year of chiropractic school. Our triplets are 20. Our son Murphy is a sophomore at Marquette. Our daughter Mairead is at home with us, and our daughter Maiti is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame.
Maureen Quill and family
What makes a Chief Operating Officer great?
A COO’s job is to make sure that your team has the tools, training and support needed to successfully provide the unparalleled customer experience to our clients all the while keeping an eye on the bottom line.

What are your favorite hobbies?
My favorite hobbies are spending time with my family, reading, movies and cooking.

Where is your favorite place to travel?
I like to go to different places but water, mountains, hiking and history are common themes.

What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
My favorite are fall football weekends at Notre Dame. We go to three or four games a year, and family and friends are always part of the festivities.

Tell us about your team at UMB Fund Services.
There are seven members of my immediate team including me. Four of us have new roles within the last nine months!  This has been a year of stretch assignments and change but all for the good. My team has an average of seven years with UMB Fund Services and more than 25 years in the industry.

UMB Fund Services has $202.7 billion in assets under administration. We have more than 200 clients and provide fund accounting, fund administration, transfer agency, distribution services, custody and cash management for pooled investments such as mutual funds, hedge funds, alternative investments, collective trusts, etc.

We have more than 400 employees located in Milwaukee, Wisc., Ogden, Utah, Chadds Ford, Penn. and Kansas City, Mo.

My team all has the same focus: great customer service to our clients, our associates and to each other. We work to solve problems as a team, we are collaborative, all ideas are open to discussion, and we are focused on finding a way to say YES to our clients – getting to the right solution for the client and for UMB Fund Services.

What is the greatest challenge facing the industry right now?
There are two things that come to mind. The first is regulation which is constantly changing and challenging to us, our clients and our technology. The second is our growth. Hiring, training and retaining the right people to service our clients and grow with UMB Fund Services is a challenge.


When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

Maureen Quill is Chief Operating Officer for UMB Fund Services. She is responsible for overseeing transfer agency, fund accounting and administrations, tax, distribution, alternative investments, technology and client services. She joined UMB Fund Services in March, 1996 and has 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.

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