Regulatory and investor pressure have drastically altered the hedge fund industry in recent years. With managers increasingly looking for fund administrators to provide more middle-office and value-added services, whilst at the same time squeezing them on fees, the situation has become a Gordian Knot. Administrators must find ways to remain relevant, attract new clients, and continue to build revenues at a time when everyone is adjusting to FATCA, AIFMD, and shortly Common Reporting Standards.
When the British Virgin Islands introduced the Approved Manager regime at the end of 2012 it was heralded as a significant step forward. With start-up managers facing dual pressures of investor preference for regulatory oversight, and higher barriers to entry (from a cost perspective), there was no satisfactory option. The new regime changed that. Managers suddenly had the ability to enjoy lighter touch regulatory oversight that was more in line with their needs, and had an alternative to becoming SIBA-licensed on day one.
The challenge for any aspiring hedge fund start-up has been well documented in recent times. Year after year, the barriers to entry rise. Five years ago, the onset of global regulation prompted industry commentators to suggest that the break-even point of a hedge fund was USD100 million. One could argue that on an annualised basis, that break-even figure has risen by USD100 million. Not all will agree, but there is a growing consensus that to cope with the sheer breadth of regulation, today's start-up manager needs to be targeting Day 1 AUM of around USD500 million.
The Cayman Islands Government published The Limited Liability Companies Bill, 2015 on 18 December 2015 which, when enacted, will provide for the introduction of a new Cayman legal vehicle, the Cayman Limited Liability Company (LLC). The draft legislation closely aligns the Cayman LLC to the United States' Delaware LLC model which will mean that the new structure will be instantly recognisable to the US market. This is a significant development for Cayman.
With more consolidation expected in 2016 within the hedge fund administration space, those that thrive and survive will likely be ones with a strong reputation, a robust operating model that is able to support managers of all shapes and sizes, and a clearly defined multifarious revenue stream.
ICG Management Limited ('ICG') is an independent director services provider. It was established in 2006 by Ralph Woodford (pictured) and Andrew Galloway. Along with Galloway and Woodford, the firm's two other directors, Brad Cowdroy and Greg Link, ICG provides director services to offshore funds.
By Chris Humpries (pictured), Stuarts Walker Hersant Humphries – The Cayman Islands is the principle offshore jurisdiction for hedge funds and mutual funds and seeks to retain its status by implementing an innovative legislative and regulatory regime and by continuing to have an absence of taxation. Hedgeweek Global Awards 2015 declared The Cayman Islands the best hedge fund services jurisdiction. Given the historic success of the Cayman Islands as a fund domicile, it also boasts the presence of sophisticated and professional service providers who are knowledgeable in the nuances of the fund industry.
It's safe to say that the Cayman Island Government's in-tray is probably rather full at the turn of the year. Two major developments are in train, both of which are set to further enhance the jurisdiction's reputation. The first of these developments is the impending introduction of a new legal vehicle – the Cayman Islands limited liability company ("LLC"), which is expected to be brought into force in early 2016 (likely March or April).
Since the BVI introduced the Approved Manager regime at the end of 2012 demand has been strong. Currently, there are 101 Approved Managers licensed in the BVI.
Elian has been granted an investment business licence by the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC). Working with global financial-services company, SEI, Elian Capital Services is now able to offer an integrated investment management programme.