Relationships are key to charting a better course

Relationship managers’ unique role means they can anticipate clients’ needs and deliver tools to take advantage of new opportunities

Navigation is in Citco’s DNA. Citco was founded to help Dutch multinationals steer the uncharted waters of offshoring assets to avoid confiscation by foreign powers during World War II. From the late 1970s to the 1990s Citco helped asset managers deal with Section 864 of the US tax code, which was generally referred to as the “10 commandments” (it included 10 factors the IRS used to determine whether funds operating outside the US would be subject to US income tax).

Today’s Citco offers a broad range of services to address our clients’ jurisdictional, accounting and financial, regulatory reporting and operational needs. It’s this long history of focusing on the alternative investment space that has enabled Citco to develop a multifaceted client service model providing insightful, practical and nimble solutions for today’s alternative asset manager.

Citco monitors and measures all aspects of the services we provide. Citco’s client service team are some of the most tenured individuals within the industry. Their scope of experiences are matched to the client’s requirements – and they also have cultivated the connections to work within Citco to bring solutions to the needs expressed by our clients.

Additive and ownership

Two words sum up client service in my mind – additive and ownership. They go hand in hand. First, the client service person needs to be additive. He or she needs to understand the client’s business requirements and add value for the client. Shiny suits need not apply.

A client service person can only achieve this by ‘owning the client relationship’ within their organisation; by being the client’s advocate. It’s essential to understand why a client is interested in a topic and anticipate the tools/services that can be deployed to help.

Listening to the client’s staff, and Citco’s staff, should help to root out mutually beneficial opportunities. Ownership also covers client profitability. It is easy to provide a superior client service person when “Yes” is the only answer. But client service must also add value to the Citco organisation.

Good housekeeping

The client service model starts and stops with a service level agreement (SLA) and associated key performance indicators. The SLA is a transparent living and breathing document that is continually tweaked as operational models evolve. It should never be rigid.

Sharing information

Meeting the asset manager regularly is key to understanding how to add greater value. This may take the form of adding services and solutions; improving efficiency and so lowering costs; or even seconding resources in a client’s hour of need.

Solutions can range from outsourcing basic tasks such as daily reconciliations and payments, to more technical services like risk and loan administration. Value can also be added by enabling the client to leverage our infrastructure to add scale to their business without investing in more people or technology.

Benefits of benchmarking

Good client service means intuitively seeing how best to support an evolving enterprise. By benchmarking current processes against best practices from across our global client base it’s possible to be proactive. For more customised solutions the client service manager can introduce specialised teams that can evaluate specialised and/or bespoke situations, and find ways to address them.

Client service managers are there to engage with our clients to help steer them through each stage of a fund’s lifecycle – from formation to investor satisfaction, to operational efficiencies, to reporting. They can give asset managers unique insights into their own businesses and help them to pilot a course through alternative investment’s ever-changing landscape, as Citco has been doing for decades for its clients.

22nd February 2018