Friday, July 17, 2009

Hedge Fund CFO Headaches

Alternative investment chief financial officers’ five biggest headaches are regulations, transparency, complexity, investor timidity and efficiency, according to a new survey from TKS Solutions.

Tackle even one of those challenges and you’ll set yourself up to move ahead. After all, anyone with a headache automatically loves the co-worker who’s got a bottle Motrin in her desk.

The five most vexing issues for fund CFOs were:

Evolving Regulatory Requirements
A complex regulatory framework has long been a facet of fund life, but this year's abrupt changes have created new challenges for even the most sophisticated shops. Take, for instance, US Form 90.22 (or FBAR) covering both taxable and non-taxable ownership of foreign funds, feeder funds, and tax exempt entities. At least you have until fall to get it done.

Investor Demands for Greater Transparency
Reporting requests are now coming from the capital side and the portfolio front. Thanks to Madoff, investors want to see their ownership percentages in any underlying funds and managed accounts.

Managing Asset Complexity
Has your fund set up side-pocket for non-performing 2008 investments? Managing those along with the main fund may mean an upgrade from spread-sheets to investor accounting software.

Investor Timidity
Hedge funds are offering skittish investors creative liquidity gates. New offerings include: early redemptions with a fee; periodic ability to withdraw partial capital; and/or splitting a single contribution into multiple lock-up schedules.

Operational Efficiency
It may have helped the bottom line to reduce head-count, but it sure didn’t do anything for your workload problems. Brute force deployments of small armies of staff armed with spreadsheets are no longer an option for handling the many complexities of investment partnership and shareholder accounting. Demonstrate your worth by quickly getting up to speed on any new investor accounting systems and updates.

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