Ansbacher moves into PE fund administration

Ansbacher has appointed Barry Carroll to oversee the launch of the firm’s private equity fund administration services.

International financial services provider Ansbacher has signalled its intention to expand its private equity fund administration services with the announcement that Barry Carroll is to head up the firm's Fund Services division.

Carroll joins the firm from Bank of Bermuda where he was vice president and private equity product manager. He will co-ordinate Ansbacher's current portfolio of funds as well as overseeing the firm's concerted move in to private equity fund administration. Ansbacher currently provides back office services for a small number of private equity funds through its client-base which includes US fund manager Fidelity.

'There is currently no-one offering onshore private equity fund administration services in the UK,' explained Carroll. 'There are a couple of firms providing offshore services, but there is a lack of options in the UK for onshore funds, which are principally established as UK Limited Partnerships, wanting to outsource their back office operations.'

The firm also provides offshore fund administration services from its four offices in Jersey, Guernsey, the Bahamas and Cayman Islands, but plans to source these operations from its London headquarters, where both Carroll and his former Bank of Bermuda colleague deputy, JP Harrop will both be based. 'We will effectively be outsourcing our offshore fund administration operations to our London offices although all LP/investor documentation will be held offshore. By locating our main team in London this will ensure that we, and more importantly our clients, will never experience under-delivery caused by a lack of qualified administrative staff, a common problem for administrators based in the offshore islands.' said Carroll.

Ansbacher is looking to establish itself as a major player in the private equity fund administration sector at a time when outsourcing is becoming a more viable option for smaller and medium sized funds.  Outsourcing converts relatively fixed for the investment manager (the cost of systems and staff) into a direct expense for the fund as administrators costs are virtually always borne by the fund/LP. The recent UK law change lifting the ceiling on the maximum number of partners will also offer larger firms the opportunity to stay onshore when they might have had to base themselves offshore previously. 'I think the Myners Report will also in time have a positive effect on private equity investing in the UK,' added Carroll.

Carroll is currently speaking to private equity software firms in the US, citing the lack of niche software as one of the reasons for a low uptake in outsourcing. 'Most of the firms offering back office services are dealing with limited partnerships. However a lot of these firms use software that isn't suited for limited partnership accounting so we're looking to make sure we have the right software in place.  The software we are purchasing will also be web-enabled expediting the access of information (through secure access) to GP's as well as LP's.'

Only this week, one of the leading developers of fund administration management software in the US, DML Fund Services was acquired by NYSE-listed BISYS. Steve Millner, one of the managing partners at the firm, saw the deal as being significant not only because it allowed them to scale their business quickly in order to meet growing international demand but also because it reflected the increasing convergence of alternative asset class administration services. BISYS has also recently bought hedge fund services provider Hemisphere.