The Gemini Companies (Gemini) (now Ultimus Fund Solutions) today released key insights a panel of registered fund experts shared during a recent webinar, “Navigating Challenges for Startup Funds.” Marissa Capodanno, Deputy Head of Content for the Fund Intelligence Group, moderated the event, which included three panelists: Sandra Powers, CEO of ARK Global LLC; Chris Menconi, Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; and James Ash, SVP of Registered Fund Solutions for Gemini.
The webinar covered topics specific to RIAs who are considering starting a mutual fund, including fund ideation (strategy), creation (operations), and best practices in distribution (marketing and sales). Each panelist revealed key insights to help the marketplace think critically when setting up a mutual fund, including:
- An overview of first-time basics and the specific regulatory hurdles for upstart mutual funds, including why now might be a good time to start a fund considering the world’s stock exchanges have a capitalization of more than $80 trillion (up from $25 trillion in 2009, a 320% increase)*
- Understanding the capacity of resources (i.e., workflow, operations, technology, cybersecurity) and when to build inhouse versus buy or outsource these competencies
- Determining optimal service provider relationships
- Setting realistic expectations when ramping up a new mutual fund business (i.e., time to market)
- Best practices for distribution – for example, do the math first!
During the event, a poll revealed that 59% of participants view regulations and compliance as their top challenge. “This result isn’t surprising, as the regulatory environment is constantly evolving,” said Mr. Menconi. “It is becoming increasingly important for fund sponsors to partner with sponsored professionals who understand the regulatory landscape and can help their clients proactively navigate and adapt to new and changing demands on their businesses.”
The majority of participants also noted that the predominant reason they delayed starting a fund was because of their impression of the costs associated with a fund, and their lack of committed assets to seed the fund. When asked about the survey responses, Ms. Powers noted, “Fully understanding the competitive landscape, defining key differentiators and having a highly structured and focused game plan makes all the difference in growing assets under management. Simply put, firms who plan well do well.”
Other benefits for starting a mutual fund covered during the event, include:
- The economies of commingling small, separate accounts
- That mutual funds can help RIAs diversify their client set and raise additional AUM
- How starting a mutual fund helps RIAs extend their brand presence
Mr. Ash noted, “We are pleased to bring structure to the mutual fund process for RIAs who are looking to scale their operations, and help them with the critical thinking to quantify the economics/savings of starting a fund. Working with trusted partners in legal, distribution, custody, and through a shared trust model helps these market participants focus on delivering their distinct strategy and alpha to their clients, who may ultimately benefit.”
*Moore, Barry D. “39 Stock Market Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind-2018.” Liberated Stock Trader. 28 June 2018