SphereInvest live with 'hedge fund in a box'

Source: Equinoxe

SphereInvest, a specialist, global high yield, distressed debt, emerging credit and private equity investment advisory company, has gone live with the newly launched 'Hedge Fund In A Box' solution to gain competitive edge with a stronger grasp of risk exposure and improved visibility and less administrative burden.

Offered through a consortium comprising Formicary, a software and system integration provider and Equinoxe Alternative Investment Services, an alternative fund administration company, 'Hedge Fund in a Box' makes it more cost effective and easier for SphereInvest to benefit from and fully optimise its sophisticated trading platform.

Based in Bermuda, SphereInvest was established to provide consulting and investment advisory services to institutional investors. SphereInvest combines investment expertise with prudent portfolio structuring and rigorous risk and operational management capabilities. When it came to implementing its technology infrastructure, SphereInvest recognised that a single trading platform fully integrated across the front, middle and back office, incorporating live risk management reporting would streamline trading flow, improve communication and efficiency and reduce the risk of error. In addition, a fully hosted IT infrastructure would take the pressure off SphereInvest to keep its IT systems up and running while a virtualised desktop environment would mean employees could access the entire corporate infrastructure from anywhere in the world.

After an extensive six month request for proposals (RFP) process assessing a large number of systems and products, SphereInvest decided to utilise 'Hedge Fund in a Box' to implement its trading platform. Nic Snelling, chief operating officer of the SphereInvest Group explains the choice:

"As a specialist hedge fund it is imperative that we build the business by playing to our strengths, namely our trading, investment advisory and risk management expertise and avoid becoming embroiled in administrative and IT functions. 'Hedge Fund In A Box' offers us the best of all worlds - a trading platform which provides us with the most accurate data available, dedicated 24/7 IT infrastructure support and fund administration - without the need for us to put our own specialistecialist teams in place.

"Implementation was straight forward and painless. Formicary and Equinoxe had the flexibility and vision to create a solution specifically tailored to reflect SphereInvest's business model. By having the knowledge and experience of these specialists on board as well as the benefits offered by the trading platform, SphereInvest is now on a par with the longer established players in the industry, without the need for us to break the bank in the process."

SphereInvest's front, middle and back office teams were consulted to assess their specific requirements and preferred ways of working so that the trading system could be tailored and implemented to please all parties, thereby encouraging them to embrace the system. 'Hedge Fund in a Box' will unite each of these functions through a single solution for full trade processing, from data input to reconciliations and settlements through to back office reporting and risk management analytics.

By providing seamless fund administration and middle office support, Hedge Fund in a Box will help eliminate the typical errors that often occur in a standard hedge fund operating model.

Additionally, fund managers can securely access their entire corporate infrastructure anywhere in the world via an internet connection - seamlessly linking their real time trading systems with Microsoft Office, CRM systems, email and real time market data providers.

Hedge Fund in a Box was launched in September 2010. Available through a subscription payment model, 'Hedge Fund in a Box' offers an alternative pricing mechanism based upon a shared risk reward with a variable cost base, allowing a marrying of fund revenues to fund expenses, replacing the fixed cost base. This means that Hedge Funds can grow their business with the confidence that increased scale can be met with this infrastructure.

Greville Lucking, chief operating officer, Formicary, adds: "Hedge funds are under increasing pressure - not just to operate as a successful investment house, but from a transparency and accountability perspective. For specialist firms such as SphereInvest, this can pose a huge drain on resources as they try to juggle administrative tasks, IT infrastructure management and regulatory compliance on top of the day job of making profitable investment decisions. It's precisely for this reason that Hedge Fund In A Box was developed - to help these firms reap maximum reward through the implementation of high-end trading platforms while keeping processes and systems as clear cut and manageable as possible."

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