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The Drawdown Awards 2024: The Citco way

July 2024

11 July 2024 - Jay Peller, Head of Fund Services, Citco Fund Services (USA) Inc., speaks to The Drawdown on what makes Citco standout from its industry peers, as well as its plans for the future.

The Drawdown: The judges praised Citco for its consistency of service in a highly competitive fund admin market. How have you achieved this?

Jay Peller (JP): Competition is stiff, with some top tier administrators out there – but we have been doing fund administration for over 50 years and our approach has been consistent. Citco is majority owned by the same family that founded the company shortly after World War Two, which allows us to take long-term views on the market. Fund administration is the core of our business, accounting for 85-90% of our revenues, and that's probably not true for all our competitors. The other piece for us is our organic growth – Citco is not against M&A, but we look at some deals and think, ‘wow, that's going to be a difficult integration’ and we’d prefer to spend our time focusing on servicing our current clients in the best way possible instead of the distraction of integrating. We like being independent, it is an approach that has suited us for half a century and you do not fix what is not broken.

TDD: You have a very low staff turnover rate, why do you think that is?

JP: We have a very distinct culture we call “The Citco Way”. A couple of concepts are fundamental to this. First is collaboration, both with clients and internally, as we believe that we are always going to achieve more together. At Citco, we have a lot of incredible talent here – and this is strengthened when we work together. Another key concept is supporting staff. We spend a tremendous amount of money on the professional side and on the personal side, helping and training our staff. Younger people want to be tied to a company that has a strong culture and potential for career growth. When I was growing up in the industry, career was the only thing that mattered, but now we spend a lot of time with our staff on work life balance, being healthy and developing soft skills.

TDD: What upgrades to your services or products did you introduce in 2023, and what’s the plan looking ahead?

JP: As a client-centric organisation, the majority of ideas around products and lines of business are in response to clients’ feedback. By asking clients ‘what are your pain points?’, we tailor our offering to build something that remedies such issues – products that are industry leading.

A perfect example of this would be the Citco Waterfall™ tool – a major pain for our clients was waterfall calculation, so we built our waterfall calculator tool. Once we had 85-90% of our clients using it, they asked us for scenario modelling, to customise, to calculate, to look into investment distributions and different carried interest scenarios – so last year we built this enhancement to the product, and to date it's been very successful.

But the first priority right now is data. Clients want the data, their regulators want the data, and so do their investors. is automation of document management. Though we are trying to minimise paper use, there is still vast amounts of manual processes in the industry – in turn, we recently rolled out Citco Document Intelligence TM (CDI) platform, a proprietary, scalable, AI-enabled application that automates data extraction and data management, delivering easy-to-digest data reporting that allows firms to focus on what they do best – generate growth.

Ultimately, Citco is the one-stop-shop of the asset administration industry, and we intend to continue to uphold our industry leading, award winning service.

This article was originally published in The Drawdown.

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