Highvern seeks tech disruption in fund admin

Deal to use AltaReturn’s software part of differentiation plan, new player tells The Drawdown
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Newcomer Highvern Fund Administrators has sealed an agreement to use AltaReturn’s private capital software, with plans to treat the platform as a differentiating point within the fast-consolidating sector.

The teams at Highvern and AltaReturn announce the deal

The system, slated to be up and running in April, will allow Highvern’s fund-managing clients access to fund accounting, a CRM platform and an investor portal. According to the firm, the triple-function system is aimed at achieving Highvern’s intention of becoming “an extension” of a GP’s back office – the aspiration, the firm added, is to provide managers “full transparency and control” by letting them examine underlying accounting records on a near real-time basis.

“The key benefit for our clients is priority access and drilled-down functionality,” Aidan O’Flanagan, head of funds at Highvern, told The Drawdown. According to him, the platform will let CFOs and COOs at fund managers examine every individual ledger of accounting reports and build an investor portal that matches their specific needs, among other functions.

“Things will also become so much easier for us, so much more automated”, O’Flanagan said. “Administrators tend to use paper checklists, which increases both the manual labour required and the chance for error. Instead, we’ll be able to incorporate workflows into our systems and free up time so our teams can better serve our clients.”

Head of funds Aidan O’Flanagan

Before settling for AltaReturn, Highvern considered other service providers but made its final choice based on AltaReturn’s “better functionality”, according to O’Flanagan. Another factor, he added, was the circumstance that a large proportion of AltaReturn users are actual GPs.

Fully launched in late February, Highvern’s self-stated mission is to “disrupt” a fund administration space it sees as under consolidation pressures. “It comes down to firms becoming investments,” O’Flanagan said. “The pressure around margins and turnover, the need to grow through acquisitions… Others in the space have to follow short-term strategies, where it’s harder to justify technology investments that don’t necessarily add any fees from clients and potentially erode margins. We’re a new company with a longer term outlook so we can spend time on these things.”