As the hedge fund industry grows and evolves, the fortunes of emerging managers are coming into sharper focus. While many larger funds have weathered the recent storms, start-up funds and emerging fund managers face a growing number of hurdles.
A new Insight Report from Hedgeweek, The Next Generation: How emerging managers are adapting to the new hedge fund landscape, examines how emerging hedge fund managers have fared in this environment. One of the most prominent findings in the report is the desire of these managers to outsource non-core functions of the business, such as finance & accounting and HR support, in order to free up more time to focus on alpha generation.
Outsourcing Back-Office F&A Administrative Functions
One-third of emerging hedge fund managers said they plan to outsource more of their administrative and F&A operational functions in the future, according to the report, while none of the managers said they plan to outsource less. This is almost double the industry average (17%) of hedge fund managers who plan to outsource in the future.
In the report, some managers said that the shift to remote work caused by the pandemic demonstrated that certain activities no longer have to be performed under one roof. This helped further accelerate the outsourcing trend. As one respondent put it, “We had 10 years of digitization within one year.”
Another respondent attributed the trend partly to the pandemic, along with other factors such as the changing landscape, the importance of cybersecurity and the “importance of information technology in running a modern business.”
In Search of Specialized Expertise
According to the report, cost-squeezed emerging hedge fund managers are now willing to outsource more of their business functions to third-party service providers, like Consero, that can offer specialized expertise across a variety of areas including technology, finance & accounting administration, HR support and payroll functions. Meanwhile, they are keeping core competencies like portfolio management and trading activities in-house.
Outsourcing has helped ensure that emerging managers are better able to focus on alpha generation so far this year. This, in turn, is helping them build a track record that investors are willing to commit to in the increasingly volatile market environment we now face.
The report noted that the expansion of outsourced services is bringing a degree of comfort to newer hedge funds. This is especially true for quantitative-focused managers who face particularly acute administrative and technology challenges.
Outsourcing Finance and Accounting Functions
Finance & accounting, human resource management and payroll administration are examples back-office administrative areas where it often makes sense for emerging hedge fund managers to outsource. A third-party service provider can handle all of a fund’s finance & accounting functions along with administrative functions on an outsourced basis, freeing up the fund manager to spend more time focusing on alpha generation.
These services are sometimes referred to as Finance as a Service, or FaaS. FaaS goes beyond outsourced accounting to include a full suite of staff, services and software that’s capable of managing a fund’s entire finance and accounting operations. In other words, FaaS is a one-stop F&A and administrative services shop.
FaaS features flexible and transparent pricing, which makes it easy to forecast costs as the fund’s needs change in the future. This means that a FaaS provider charges based on the service offered, not by the hour or based on the level of staff assigned to the fund. As a result, hedge funds know exactly what they’re paying for and how their costs will rise or fall as they scale up or down.
Consero: The FaaS Specialists
Consero offers Finance as a Service to emerging hedge fund managers, PE/VC firms and their portfolio companies. If you would like to discuss the potential benefits of FaaS for your fund, please request a complimentary consultation.