Streamlining Investor Reporting and Developing Client Relationships
The more fund managers can streamline their current investor reporting processes, the better their investor relationships and internal processes will be.
19 July 2016
I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at the 2016 Private Equity International Investor Relations and Communications Forum in NYC. I was joined by leading Investor Relations and Technology professionals in the Private Equity industry who gave their thoughts on investor reporting and meeting investor demands. Part of our discussion touched on the various ways to develop client relationships and improve efficiencies internally. Here is a snapshot of some highlights from the panel discussion.
Need for Transparency
Investors are looking for more transparency and have become more demanding in the amount and type of information they are requesting. Given the competitive nature of raising capital, fund managers want to comply with investors’ requests. However, many of these firms have limited back — and middle — office resources, impacting the firm’s ability to respond to requests in a timely and accurate manner. Having an efficient reporting tool in place can help firms meet these demands more efficiently and effectively.
Streamlined Reporting and Communication
It was clear from our discussions that it's key to streamline the reporting process as much as possible in order to standardize reporting across the firm. Many of our panelists were following Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) standards in some of their reporting and agreed that communicating with investors and staying in front of them on a regular basis helps develop the partnership relationship.
Given that fund managers are sending out more information, sometimes to public limited partners (LPs) who may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, applying document security features like watermarking or even locking down sensitive documents can be critically important as these tools limit an investor’s ability to share information they receive from the firm with external parties.
Benefits and Challenges to Outsourcing
We also discussed the benefits and challenges of building out a reporting tool in house versus outsourcing that responsibility to a SaaS provider. Each of these approaches has its own advantages and presents its own challenges, but one important thing that we all agreed on was that any firm opting to go with an outsourced provider should thoroughly vet that provider. For instance, it's so important to select a vendor who maintains and abides by good security measures and cybersecurity policies and procedures. Further, every few years firms should reevaluate their tools and external service providers to make sure they still align with the firm’s business and security requirements. (See Intralinks’ report on assessing vendor security.)
Overall, our panel focused on how to meet investors’ needs with limited resources in place — something that firms across the industry struggle with. Standardization in the industry will eventually help, but the more fund managers can streamline their current reporting processes, the better their investor relationships will be and the more efficient their internal processes will be.
As Director of Strategy and Product Marketing for Intralinks, Meghan McAlpine is responsible for the go-to-market strategy and driving the growth of the company’s Alternative Investments solution, the leading communication platform for private equity and hedge fund managers and investors.
Prior to joining Intralinks, Meghan worked in the Private Fund Group at Credit Suisse. While at Credit Suisse, she raised capital from institutional and high net worth investors for domestic and international private equity firms.