Boston-based FundCount was established in 1999 and according to Mike Slemmer, Chief Operating Officer of the Americas, it is one of the industry's 'best kept secrets'.
"We have great technical capability. Our employees are passionate about this industry and giving clients the best tools. One of the strengths of FundCount is that we listen carefully to every client. FundCount's evolution over the last few years has been a joint effort with our clients," says Slemmer.
FundCount started life as a technology company focused on the hedge fund industry. As it worked on custom projects with more and more hedge funds, FundCount started hearing the same feedback, which went along the lines of, `You guys are proficient, why don't you focus on accounting for other industries?'
That led to strong demand from fund administrators and other investment professionals. Over the years, FundCount has built a stable of more than 100 clients that include hedge funds, single and multi-family offices, fund administrators and private equity firms.
"We've been fielding more calls from smaller hedge funds and we refer them to fund administrators who are using FundCount," says Slemmer. "We do a deep dive with them to see if they can do everything in-house. There's no point installing FundCount in a hedge fund shop where they've got great investment expertise but they don't have a lot of accounting expertise. That's not what they want to focus on – it's managing the funds! That's when they tend to agree with us that the best approach is to appoint one of the fund administrators in our network."
At the heart of FundCount's investment/portfolio and partnership accounting solution is a powerful, integrated general ledger. FundCount's integrated accounting and investment analysis software not only improves operational efficiency, it provides real-time, actionable intelligence for clients to act on.
"Our strategy is to expand our business by expanding functionality and service for our target market – hedge funds, family offices and fund administrators. We have two hedge fund prospects currently, both of whom are looking to set up as family offices. The needs of hedge funds have, over recent years, become the needs of family offices and fund administrators – so there's a lot of overlap with regards to FundCount's core functionality that allows us to support a wide range of clients."
In terms of key features, FundCount's integrated investment/portfolio accounting, partnership accounting, and analysis capabilities, using the foundation of a general ledger, means that clients do not require multiple systems to manage investments and do all the investor and tax accounting necessary to run a fund investment business.
At the same time, it means the fund manager can effectively shadow their fund administrator.
"We find that FundCount is one of the few systems that integrates all aspects of accounting. Another important differentiator is FundCount's flexible report writer. This gives users access to every data point and total control over report formats and calculations. The ease of use of the report writer enables fund administrators to respond quicker to client requests and get the right information to them," explains Slemmer.
On winning this year's award, he remarks: "It is very gratifying. We strive to put our clients first and the Hedgeweek award indicates that we've been able to do that.