A case study done by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance.
“Unlike many of our competitors, we try to service clients locally,” says Alex Chapman, Apex’s Managing Director in Canada and the U.S.“Our choice of Toronto as our base in Canada was simple: It’s the core of the asset management business in the country.”
With $26 billion under administration, up from $6 billion in 2008, Apex Fund Services has become one of the world’s largest independent fund administrators. The company employs more than 320 people in 34 offices around the world, including Toronto.
“We also wanted to be based among the top law firms, investment banks, brokerages and alternative investment managers in Canada, which are all based in Toronto. And, with the Ontario Securities Commission based here, as well, the city’s at the forefront of the regulatory agenda in terms of laws that govern asset management. These are the people we work with. It just made sense to be here.”
Performing a variety of functions on behalf of its clients, Apex currently employs a staff of eight in Canada. Among other tasks they calculate Net Asset Value, price securities at current market value, maintain and file their client funds’ financial books and records and prepare semi-annual and annual reports to shareholders. Apex offers a straight through process for clients with complete integration of Front-Middle-Back office systems.
“In terms of finding quality personnel, there are good accounting degree programs and lots of people in the GTA with experience in the industry,” says Chapman. “Toronto’s a great place to locate our business and find employees at a reasonable price. The city’s also a great place to live.”
Before opening the company’s Canadian office in 2011, Apex founder Peter Hughes considered several other locations in the country. But the city’s robust financial ecosystem, combined with a supportive network of government and public services, including a financial incentive from Ontario’s provincial government, convinced him to base the office in Toronto.
“We got a grant in the summer of 2011,” says Chapman, “which has been very useful to us in establishing our office here.”
With a UK accounting designation and an established reputation in Canada’s fund administration community, Chapman now manages Apex’s operations in the U.S. as well as Canada.
“That’s the beauty of the Apex model,” he says. “We have a team on the ground in Toronto to attend to day-to-day concerns, but all our systems and processes are Cloud-based, so my own location is irrelevant to delivering service to my clients.”
Even as it continues to expand, Apex has earned a reputation that far exceeds its relative stature in the industry. Ranked by size among the top 25 fund administrators in the world, Apex stood second in the world in client services in a recent survey by Hedge Funds Review, ahead of companies with far more assets under administration.
Apex, with AUA of around $26 billion, is about 30 times smaller than Citco.
“Apex has a global presence and business model that belies its size,” says Chapman. “We have more people doing real accounting work in more places than any other administrator. And we’re still adding new product lines: anything to keep clients’ businesses running efficiently.”
Download a PDF of the case study here.
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