In today’s dynamic environment, fund managers face numerous challenges, including increased regulatory demands and the need for greater transparency to their investors. To navigate these pressures and stay competitive, many firms are turning to better fund administration capabilities. Consequently, the decision to switch fund administrators has become a significant undertaking that requires careful planning and consideration. This blog will provide a comprehensive checklist for fund managers contemplating a switch, covering operational considerations, legal and regulatory aspects, reputation and service consistency, investor expectations, and technology enablers. By following this checklist, fund managers can ensure a smooth transition and enhance their operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and overall success.

The fund administration industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, driven both by technology innovations and intense M&A activity. These changes have caught the attention of fund managers, and it is not surprising that a substantial number of them are contemplating or actively transitioning to new fund administrators. Recent industry reports indicate that approximately a quarter of fund managers are either considering or in the process of switching to a different fund administration solution within the next 18 months. What drives this sense of urgency? Primarily, it stems from the desire to gain a competitive edge. There are many ways you can benefit from a better fund administration solution, including:

Lower Operational Costs:  Some of the more innovative fund administrators have invested in combining advanced automation with traditional administration to allow clients to dramatically lower operational costs. For example, Linnovate Partners’ proprietary technology boosts client productivity over 80% compared to conventional fund administration, boosting asset manager’s efficiency while slashing costs. 

Faster Access to Data: Some leading fund administrators are also adding capabilities to put critical information at your fingertips faster. This can help your team save time and make better decisions. Advanced software solutions and data analytics tools now enable administrators to offer real-time reporting, deeper insights into portfolio performance, and automated compliance monitoring.

Seamless Investor Communication: Investor expectations are not just expanding; they are accelerating. Choosing a fund administrator with investor-forward automation and communication capabilities can help you increase transparency and reduce investor support. Through personalized dashboards, mobile applications, and encrypted messaging systems, investors can access real-time data, performance analytics, and documents at their convenience. This level of transparency and interaction enhances investor satisfaction and helps build trust and loyalty.

Better Regulatory and Legal Compliance: With the regulatory and legal landscapes constantly shifting, partnering with a fund administrator who stays ahead of these changes can safeguard your fund against compliance risks. Ideally, look for a provider that also automates your back and middle office as well, making compliance smoother and helping to minimize errors. 

Customized Solutions: Some fund administrators offer far more tailored services than others. By acting as an extension of your staff, these full-service providers can make your team’s lives easier, freeing you and your team to focus on core priorities.

Of course, switching fund administrators is a significant effort and should not be taken lightly. That’s why research is critical to finding a fund administrator who best suits your business.

Another critical issue is making sure the prospective administrator is a match for your organization’s overall complexity. Check that the firm specializes in the asset classes your fund is involved in, as well as the geographical jurisdictions you operate in (or plan to). You don’t want to be a part of a firm’s learning curve, so it’s best to only consider those that can meet all of your needs. Fortunately, as fund administration has expanded, many firms have developed specialties such as alternative assets. 

When choosing the ideal fund administrator for your needs, consider the following critical factors:

Technology and Systems: Ensure the firm employs high-performance technology that can help your organization run more efficiently. Their technology platform should minimize your team’s data entry requirements and provide the security and data exchange needed to streamline both front and back-office processes. Additionally, check that they provide user-friendly dashboards that allow your team to access critical, real-time metrics. 

Experience and Track Record:  Investigate each prospective firm’s history with funds similar to yours in size, type, and complexity.

Geographical Specialization and Regulatory Expertise: Assess their knowledge and approach in handling your market’s current and upcoming regulatory changes.

Scalability: You don’t want to change frequently, so confirm their capability to grow and adapt as your organization expands or diversifies.

Customization: Determine their willingness and ability to tailor their services to your needs and objectives.

Service Consistency: Ask to meet those you would work with on a day-to-day basis. Do they have the experience and background needed to help your team? What is their staff turnover like? 

Reputation in the Market: Research feedback from current and former clients to gauge their reliability and performance.

Cost Structure: Understand the proposed fee structure to ensure it aligns with your budget without compromising service quality.

After selecting a new fund administrator, it’s imperative to carefully plan your transition to the new platform. When it comes to data migration, consider running both your old and new fund administration systems for a short period to help build in redundancy as you smooth out any potential issues. During this time, it’s wise to schedule training sessions for your staff to help shorten learning curves. It is also a best practice to inform all your stakeholders, including investors, about the change in administration.