What next for Ireland’s funds industry?

By SS&C Advent
23 May 2019

If two heads are better than one, then how about scores of them?

At SS&C Advent, we believe partnership and collaboration are crucial to success. Which is why we were delighted to see so many clients, partners, consultants and friends at our latest fund administration strategy workshop on May 15 at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin.

The event has become an annual fixture for our industry colleagues. It’s an opportunity for representatives from Ireland’s premier fund administrators and ancillary providers to hear about and discuss the most important trends affecting the fund admin industry and wider funds world.

What’s hot?

The workshop kicked off with a panel session featuring Cathal Cornally of HSBC Global Services, Aengus Galloway from KB Associates and myself, with SS&C Advent’s Will Broadway moderating.

Hot topics under discussion included:

  • The latest asset class trends, in particular the large and growing movement into private debt, as investors embrace the attractive yields, reliable income streams and diversification potential on offer.
  • The growing popularity of closed-end fund vehicles, which are typically used to structure private debt offerings. Reform of the Irish Investment Limited Partnership Act taking place at present is also expected to attract more closed-end funds to the country.
  • Ireland’s prospects as a leading funds jurisdiction was another topic. Innovations in areas such as management company structures have added to the attractiveness of the Irish industry, while Brexit is adding further impetus. But whatever happens with Brexit, Ireland’s momentum looks set to continue.
  • Technology was an inevitable talking point. The systems trend is clearly towards self-servicing, with the onus on delivering sophisticated portal and mobile capabilities.
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) and AI are also coming to the fore. Cornally noted that HSBC is already using a fair bit of RPA to automate low-value, repetitive tasks. Meanwhile, developments in AI are enabling the technology to move from limited rules engines towards true machine learning.
  • Ongoing fee pressure is another major issue affecting the entire industry. The squeeze is impacting both managers and service providers, and has huge implications for firms’ costs and systems deployment priorities.

Sharing ideas

The ever popular and lively roundtable discussions that followed focused on five themes this year.

  1. Fund accounting and the middle office.
  2. Investor accounting and transfer agency.
  3. Technology, deployment and integration.
  4. Geneva system performance (detailing the architectural changes we’ve made).
  5. Fund management and administration in Ireland.

The roundtables are a great way for attendees to interact with us and each other on some of the issues that matter most to their bottom line, and hopefully will help us all to create stronger and more flexible businesses.

Technology roadmap and how we can help

The event also gave us an opportunity to showcase some of the major product areas SS&C Advent is working on, and to highlight the next gen enhancements we are rolling out. The developments we’re making to the Geneva system, and our outsourcing, hosting and data governance capabilities are not just top of mind for us, they are key issues for the people who matter most: our users, and their end clients.

The day concluded with a fireside chat with Robert Roley, SS&C Advent’s General Manager, where he outlined some of SS&C Advent’s vision for the future and answered questions from attendees.

Growth in Asia, demand for private credit, expanding applications for AI, and the blurring of the lines between asset managers and tech companies were all touched on by Robert—indeed, at SS&C Advent we see ourselves increasingly as a financial services company, not just a technology provider.

But perhaps what was most revealing, and gratifying, was Robert’s observation that over the last three years our client retention rates have reached historic highs. This is essential to our growth. And we believe it is essential to our clients’ too.

On our side, we remain committed to providing the best products and services we can to our client base. But we need help.

Developments don’t happen in isolation. By listening to our clients and industry colleagues at events like this, we get to understand each other better. We can learn about your key priorities, and how improvements to our products and services can help you address your biggest challenges and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Collaboration, and a dose of innovation, will be the secret to our mutual success.