Fund Administration Services. | Fund Set Up & Administration
Our fund administration services ensure accuracy, consistency, and compliance for companies and general partnerships and help minimize the administrative burden on our clients
Phoenix American provides complete fund accounting services for both onshore and offshore funds. Accounting solutions are for any corporate entity with any accounting needs from basic bookkeeping to specialized full-service tax and accounting at the fund, asset or corporate level. Phoenix appreciates the unique needs of every client with dedicated customer service and meticulous attention to detail.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Fund administration for dummies.
Fund Administration is the outsourced performance by a third party of back office functions for an investment fund. In terms of the investment portfolio, fund administration means accounting, tracking and reporting for the investment portfolio as a whole, for the portfolio assets themselves and, in some cases, for the management company. In terms of the fund’s investors, fund administration means managing the shareholder database and seeing to the investor-related processing of forms, management of cash and necessary communications with the investors in the fund, their financial advisors and various other intermediaries.
Full-service fund administration also includes the production of tax documents for investors, bank account management, regulatory compliance services, printing, fulfillment and interaction with auditors regulators and data aggregators on behalf of fund management. The goal of full-service fund administration is to free the fund management from the expense and difficulty of employing and managing in-house teams for these non-core functions so that management can concentrate on raising assets and making investments
There is no established vocabulary for the third party fund administration role in the investment fund industry. Managers of funds with only a few investors often consider a fund administrator to be simply a fund accountant. Managers of funds with hundreds or thousands of investors often engage what they call a fund administrator or a transfer agent to manage the needs of the investors, while separately engaging an accounting firm to manage the fund accounting. – Full-service fund administration firms perform all the back office functions on both the asset and investor sides and may offer additional services, reporting capability or data aggregation stemming from their role-based access to both portfolio asset and investor data.
An effective division of labor makes any organization its most efficient. Investment fund management has expertise in raising investor capital and making lucrative investments. Portfolio accounting, shareholder management and financial communications are specialized fund administration functions subject to considerable investor demands and regulatory scrutiny. It makes business sense to utilize a fund administrator with expert knowledge and specialized fund administration software to perform these functions. Management benefits from the perspective, experience and knowledge of operational complexities only a fund administrator can provide.
Fund administration saves management costs as pricing is based on services rendered as opposed to fixed payroll costs for an in-house team which are often not be in line with the back office demands of a fund at any given time. Fund administration services scale with the growth of the fund, providing as-needed operational staff to ensure continuity. Fund administration represents the best use of investor funds in the service of the investors.
Regulatory compliance, data security and business continuity is systematized by fund administration processes and removed as a source of business risk.
Management benefits from the operational knowledge of fund administrators derived from their other clients, contacts and industry relationships.
Institutional investors, in their due diligence process, often consider outsourced fund administration essential infrastructure for a fund in which they will invest. Pension funds, family offices and ultra-high-net-worth individuals recognize the importance of a professionalized division of labor.
Scalability is not an issue. Sales success can be a liability for a fund when hundreds or thousands of new investors become an unmanageable burden on in-house back office processes. Advanced fund administration software applications utilized by well-equipped fund administrators are capable of managing functionally limitless scale. Staffing flexibility within a fund administration provider is able to respond to increases in client scale.
The sales reporting capability of some fund administration software applications can provide valuable business intelligence to wholesalers from sales and transaction data.
Traditionally, alternative investment fund sponsors performed their own fund administration, not always approaching it very seriously. Using Excel spreadsheets or CRM systems to manage portfolio accounting and investor management in-house, funds could grow only to a scale that could be supported operationally by a home-grown staff with little industry experience.
Data consistency tended to be poor as each operator contributed errors and eccentricities to data entry, the systems used lacking controls to ensure data uniformity. Lack of activity tracking capability meant that mistakes often went undetected. This limited the utility of what reporting capability the system of record offered.
Funds tended to use multiple vendors and redundant processes to execute distribution payments, capital calls, proxy voting and tax document production. This caused complexity, confusion and unreliability to these processes. Mistakes and lateness of deliverables were difficult to avoid.
Multiple share classes, DRIP shares and complex commission structures were difficult or impossible to manage with in-house administration. Fund companies were limited in fund structure options available to them based on what could be managed by their administrative team.
Accounting firms were often unfamiliar with the diverse nature of alternative investment funds. If outside accounting was ignorant of fund particulars, such as tax triggering events for funds of certain asset classes and structures, this resulted in audit and tax compliance issues.
In-house fund administration was considered a necessary distraction from management’s core mission of raising investor funds and generating returns. In-house fund administration was a difficult, redundant, inefficient, often counterproductive waste of resources, especially as successful fund performance attracted high numbers of investors.
The alternative investment fund industry has experienced enormous growth in recent years. Increasingly, established fund sponsors of every size are recognizing the economic, regulatory, data security and reputational advantages of third party fund administration that allows fund management to maintain only a core team of employees focused on investments and sales.
As opportunities abound, more and more emerging fund managers with less and less experience with the administrative side of investment funds are able to participate in the industry with the consultation and support of an experienced fund administration firm.
Investor expectations, financial advisor demands and regulatory requirements continue to increase the need for transparency, reporting capability and live data flow to and from multiple industry participants. Versatile fund administration software systems and specialized expertise are increasingly required.
Innovators have responded to the needs of this dynamic industry. New sales technologies, data aggregators, payment systems and management applications have brought efficiencies – but the complexity of making multiple new technologies work together is only within the capabilities of the most advanced fund administration firms.
As more and more investors participate in alternative investments, scalability will be a prime concern for fund sponsors. From the formation of a new fund, sponsors need to consider the ability of the fund administration solution they put in place to manage sales success resulting in thousands of investments.
Advanced third party fund administration is more necessary than ever. As alternative investments gain in popularity and back-office functions become more complex and highly regulated, outsourced fund administration is considered less optional and more essential than it has in the past.
The biggest names in fund administration tend to suffer from their size with a bureaucratic and impersonal approach to client services. In many cases, despite their size, these firms deploy inferior legacy fund administration systems relying on their industry reputation rather than innovation to grow their business.
In some cases, fund administration is not the core business of fund administration firms. These companies may be well established as loan servicing firms, FinTech companies or transfer agents for publically traded funds looking to leverage their client base by offering fund administration for alternative funds despite a lacking expertise in their unique complexities. .
Most fund administration firms lack fund administration systems capable of processing, reporting, and calculating at scale. System limitations result in capital calls, distributions and tax document preparation that are late, incomplete or incorrect. Throwing additional human resources at inferior systems to compensate does not resolve these issues.
High staff turnover is a problem at many fund administration firms. Lack of experience, unresponsiveness and lateness with deliverables is the result.
Consolidation in the fund administration space is a significant trend and means many firms are subject to acquisition. Once a firm is acquired, inevitable cost reductions and staffing cuts mean a decline in client service levels.
Very common among fund administration firms is uneven capabilities among the principal back-office functions: fund accounting, investor management, tax services, sales and activity tracking and reporting. Many firms do not offer across-the-board fund administration services. Others who do have a specialization in one or two services, offering inferior performance in the others.
Phoenix American is a privately held company with fund administration expertise derived from over twenty years as a fund sponsor and over thirty years as a third party fund administration provider.
We employ the most advanced and versatile fund administration systems in alternative investments including our proprietary STAR-XMS fund administration software. Our processes streamline and simplify operations. Our systems provide reporting and visibility into sales, asset performance and compliance for investors, financial advisors, auditors and deal teams.
Phoenix American provides a full range of top-tier fund administration services encompassing all back office processes. Experienced long-tenured staff are committed to responsive personalized client service. We specializing exclusively on fund administration for alternative investments with expertise across all fund structures, scales and asset classes.
An SEC registered transfer agent with SOC1, Type II audited processes, Phoenix American performs private equity fund administration and administration services for venture capital, real estate funds, fixed income funds, commodity pools, non-traded REITs, BDCs and more.
Customized fund administration solutions with the specific goals of the fund in mind are part of our partner-oriented consultative approach to client service.
Live system connectivity with clearing firms, broker-dealers, RIA’s, the DTCC AIP platform, DST FAN Mail, custodians and family offices provides maximum visibility for your offering industry-wide.
Our team of fund administration executives draw on employment experience with major fund sponsors, auditing firms, financial advisors, regulators and venture capital firms.
Fund accounting and investment administration has been our primary line of business for over 40 years. We have the talent, the specialized fund administration software and the economies of scale to maximize efficiency and affordability. With Phoenix American’s menu of offerings you can choose the level of service that suits your needs. Whether you choose our full-service fund administration package or our application-only fund administration software solution, you can leverage Phoenix American’s skilled personnel and technological infrastructure to compliment your own capabilities more efficiently addressing your accounting and fund administration needs. Either way, you save time and money on your back office.
Your contract will be tailored to the individual needs of your business. There will be a one-time implementation fee and a monthly fee thereafter. You will find the value and ease of working with Phoenix American far superior to the expense and difficulty of purchasing the equipment and maintaining the staff to perform these functions in-house.
An account manager is assigned to lead your account team and be a day-to-day point of contact for you: responding to questions, investigating concerns, overseeing account activity and coordinating any adjustments that might be needed. A knowledgeable backup account manager, part of your account team, ensure that responsive service is always available.
Data security is maximized when transmission of data is minimized and necessary transmission is genuinely secured. With a full-service fund administration provider, asset, investor and transaction information is maintained within a single facility and processed internally to perform necessary functions. Sponsor access to information is limited to VPN-enabled system access. Transmission of information to investors and financial advisors is limited to a password-protected, system-integrated web portal. Checks and statements are produced and delivered from a secure department within the fund administrator’s facility, employing direct system access, with bar-code tracking and according to SOC 1 audited processes.