The Integration Game: Combining Acquisitions

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The Apex Group’s Global Head of Integrations, Chris Mulhern, was interviewed by Global Custodian, Editor, Jon Watkins, about the transformational string of acquisitions made over the past year:

No fund administrator has made more acquisitions since the start of 2017 than Apex Fund Services. Christopher Mulhern, global head of acquisition integrations discusses the process of integrating multiple businesses and cultures into one united entity

Combining financial services companies following a merger or acquisition is an infamously rigorous task, with technology, clients and human resource issues to battle post-deal. For Apex’s Chris Mulhern that task has been multiplied five-fold following an ambitious string of acquisitions from the fund administrator over the past 18 months.

Backed by private equity firm Genstar, the fund services provider has acquired six businesses since January 2017. Chronologically, it has added Equinoxe Alternative Investment Services, Deutsche Bank’s Alternative Fund Services business, MM Warburg Asset Servicing, Ipes, LRI and Custom House.

Joining in October 2017, just after the finalisation of the Equinoxe deal, Mulhern was under no illusion as to the task ahead of him. “When I joined Apex last October the Deutsche Bank transaction had just been signed, I was fully aware that there would be multiple acquisitions over the next 18 months,” Mulhern explained to Global Custodian. “We created a clear model on how we would execute each integration, including detailed, documented project planning.

“The Apex business a year ago was a smaller independent with narrower scope of services, but with high quality delivery. So with the acquisitions over the past year we’ve been strategically looking for businesses that add value to our offering and build up a much broader and wider range of products across the full value chain.”

Following the spending spree, Apex has become one of the five largest fund administrators in the world, with the latest purchase of Custom House set to take its assets under administration to $560 billion.

The article goes on to cover:

  • Addressing misconceptions
  • Cultural differences
  • Adjusting to a new world
  • Technology integration
  • Future deals

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