November 4, 2020  |  BLOG POST | By Lani Oneil

Meeting with alternative investment sponsors, it continues to amaze me the number of investor relations teams managing growth using tools not intended for the job – regardless of the size of their operations.

That really hit home a when we helped a perpetual REIT manager explore, on a granular basis, the time they spend on dozens of separate shareholder accounting tasks. Some of the functions we looked at and ways we think they can be improved are shown in the table below.

Seeing the hours spent on performing tasks manually or using ill-suited software was quite an eye opener for everyone involved:

  • A new account set-up and payment process that could take up to 2 hours to fully onboard each account
  • Quarterly distribution processing taking a full week for one product
  • A two week process to prepare and mail quarterly investor statements

On the surface, the numbers don’t seem big by task, but add them up and you’re looking at thousands of hours spent each year by the firm’s IR team whose time would be better served providing qualitative insights to the investors, not manipulating spreadsheets.

Intuitively, everyone knows and appreciates that technology can bring efficiencies to many of the manual processes but firms can get caught up in the “spend” of introducing new solutions as opposed to the “cost” of not doing so.

The balance is understanding the dollars spent investing in technological solutions can far outweigh the cost of not reducing risk through efficiencies that help support the growth of your business.   Is your firm at financial and reputational risk for errors because your team is trying to manage a thousand row, hundred column Excel Spreadsheet of investor information and activity?  Ask yourself what would you pay to mitigate these risks and focus your staff on growth and quality service.

For many alternative investment sponsors, they know change is needed.  They just don’t know where to start or have the time to devote to changing.  It doesn’t need to be overwhelming and Envision is ready to help make the process easier.  If you think your alternatives platform might benefit from a hard look at its shareholder accounting operations, please give us a call.

Table: Process Review

Task Envision Solution
New account set-up requires documentation, an archived record and involves processing time. Upgrade to automatic straight-through processing integrated with recordkeeping software.
New purchases and transfers typically have multiple data entry sources and various settlement times. Recordkeeping software with built-in rules for quality control, maintains transaction history and automates investor confirmations.
Account maintenance requests and inquiries are made directly to the Investor Relations team typically via phone call or email. Web portals for investors, advisors, and the investor servicing team lets customers retrieve account information and perform minor account maintenance independently. Web-functionality for employees enables remote productivity.
Dividend processes can be complex and prone to errors. They typically involve a number of steps involving scheduling, processing, recording and investor confirmations. Our recordkeeping software can automate the entire distribution process, track history, and produce investor confirmations.
Quarterly and custom account statements are one of the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks without proper technology in place. Our software can automatically produce quarterly and ad hoc statements. Printing and mailing can be done in-house, through your current print vendor, or we can facilitate a vendor partnership to outsource. Our software allows unlimited addresses for duplicate statements and seasonal addresses.
Reporting and data analysis are essential for effective business management at all levels. In addition, most broker/dealer client firms or custodians require some form of standardized, periodic reports. We offer 200+ pre-built reports that can be run any time or on a schedule. Operators can run a specific query with actionable results. Teams with SQL skills, can write their own reports are tap Envision to build custom reports.

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