An American tail: service providers go West
For European GPs that want to stick with a familiar European service provider Stateside, we explore which businesses have taken their European operational excellence across the pond
From its roots in London town, expansion to North America was essential to MJ Hudson. LP mandates are an important part of its business, as was tapping into large Canadian LPs.
The consultancy spread its wings over the pond mostly through acquisition. Back in 2018, the firm acquired subscription-led data and analytics service provider Amaces, enabling it to tap into the company’s US and Canadian client base, as well as mark its territory in Chicago, Toronto and Salt Lake City.
Fast forward two years and MJ Hudson set about buying marketing services and analytics business Meyler. This expanded its North American presence further to New York and Vancouver. With Canada and the East Coast ticked off the list, MJ Hudson added a presence on the West Coast when it bought fund performance and analytics specialist PERACS Group last year.
JTC has spent the last decade setting up camp Stateside. With humble roots in Jersey, the fund administrator set its sights on the US almost 10 years ago, establishing its first representative office in Miami, followed by a presence in Cayman in 2013.
Wanting to cover more ground, JTC opened its second representative office in 2014, this time in the city that never sleeps: New York. Emilio Miguel joined from TMF Group (Latin America) and has since headed up JTC’s Manhattan office as managing director - Americas. But the journey didn’t stop there.
JTC poured more capital into Cayman in 2015, with the acquisition of GAM Investment’s fund administration business. Back in the US the following year, the listed-fund administrator was granted a trust licence in South Dakota.
After a short break, JTC was back out on US roads in April 2020 announcing a new acquisition: fund administrator NES Financial, which it bought for £32m. NESF’s founder, chair and CEO Michael Halloran was appointed JTC’s global head of technology strategy and joined the firm’s holdings board. Despite the pandemic, JTC followed its America dream even harder in 2021, buying Segue Partners (St Louis, Missouri), SALI Fund Services (Austin, Texas) and Essential Fund Services (New York).
Sanne was established in its Jersey homeland in 1988 and subsequently listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2015. However, the fund administrator didn’t play around when it came to US expansion, opening four offices across Eastern, Central and Western America in 2021.
Sanne acquired FLSV Fund Administration Services for $65.8m in October 2016, paving the way for its first US office, in New York. The firm then bought Dallas-based fund solutions company STRAIT for $45m (April 2021), enabling it to set up camp in Texas.
With two additional offices in the Cayman Islands and San Diego, Sanne has already covered four key quarters for its American story.
Founded in 2012 in London town, Apperio dipped its toe Stateside in 2020 by expanding its sales operations across the pond. At the time, the team said the platform was initially targeting corporate enterprises with $5m or greater legal spend as well as PE firms.
The Permira-backed business began its slow and steady journey to America in 2018 when it acquired investment servicing company Cortland Capital Markets Services.
After two years, Alter Domus’ North American presence grew further with the opening of its Cayman Islands office. This was swiftly followed by the acquisition of Boston-based fund administrator IPS Fund Services (2020). This deal enabled the firm to hop over from the windy city of Chicago, where it was known for its debt servicing capabilities, into Boston, which is considered an important hub for US private equity.
A Jersey mainstay, Crestbridge (formerly Dominion Corporate Group until 2013) was established back in 1998. Despite its longstanding roots in the Channel Islands, the fund administrator decided a bricks and mortar office was the way to go in New York in 2019, as a means to support its growing US-based institutional client base.
The following year, Crestbridge hopped on the US acquisition train by purchasing New Jersey-based Ovation Fund Services to help US domestic PE and RE funds.
Crestbridge has had an office in the Cayman Islands since 2015. Of course since then, Cayman’s government passed its Private Funds Law 2020 (February 2020). Between that and the jurisdiction’s removal from the EU Blacklist, Crestbridge is well placed across three American financial hubs.
Before breaking America, IQ-EQ rebranded from SGG Group in March 2019, in a bid to unify SGG with its many acquisitions. Once 2020 hit, IQ-EQ’s American invasion followed the go hard or go home philosophy.
IQ-EQ firmly planted itself in North America through the acquisition of Blue River Partners, which provides outsourced services to alternative funds (February 2020). Next was the acquisition of US co-sourced and outsourced investment management services provider Constellation (January 2021), followed by US trust business, Concord Trust Company (May 2021). Not quite finished, IQ-EQ then added another string to its bow through the acquisition of US-based governance and regulatory compliance provider, Greyline Partners (November 2021).
Taking advantage of American talent, Blue River’s founding partner Mark Fordyce (CEO), has since taken the brands under his wing, as he leads IQ-EQ’s US operations.
To date, IQ-EQ now has eight US offices dotted across the East Coast, West Coast, North-Central and Central America as a result of its acquisitive growth. These include New Hampshire, South Dakota, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Fort Worth and San Francisco. It’s New York office, however, is a result of organic growth and subsequently grew headcount following its acquisition of Augentius in 2018.
London-based Holland Mountain had big plans for the US, which came into fruition in 2021. The firm entered US territory in April 2021 when it partnered with US fintech Canoe Intelligence. This enabled Holland Mountain to connect its upgraded ATLAS data platform with Canoe’s technology, streamlining reporting processes for mutual clients.
Not long after, Holland Mountain planted some seeds in American soil with a brand new office in New York.
Familiar faces of Barnaby Piggott (CEO) and Kyri Yiannakis (head of ATLAS client development, and formerly founding member of iLevel) are leading Holland Mountain’s US expansion, splitting their time across both sides of the Atlantic.
Another Jersey mainstay, Aztec has been a firm feature on the Channel Islands since 2001. After two decades of service in Europe, Aztec opened its first US office in Philadelphia in 2021.
To run the show, the fund administrator sent long-serving employee Michael Wood (director) to co-head the office along with Lynne Westbrook (director), who joined from JP Morgan. They were joined by a team of long-serving Aztec-ers to ensure its well-established corporate knowledge and culture was reflected in the US.