Harbour Financial Services Limited is an independent fund administrator that has earned a strong reputation in Bermuda for providing award-winning service to a range of alternative investment and private equity funds.
Brian McDevitt, a seasoned executive within the Bermuda industry, is Chief Operating Officer. Since joining Harbour he has implemented a market-leading accounting and technology platform and his presence has attracted the right talent to drive the business forward.
McDevitt reports: "The fund administration business tends to be quite fluid so far as human capital is concerned. We have a stable employee base and each of our staff members has experience from other funds jurisdictions. Our client relationships are not plagued by regular staff changes faced by many other funds service providers."
Harbour is part of Wakefield Quin, a leading Bermuda law firm. Being associated with a law firm is a clear differentiator for Harbour compared to Bermuda's other fund administrators.
"We generally sit down with the lawyers at the start of the discussion with a client. This gives us a clear idea of when they are planning to launch, what kind of structure they want, the investors they will be targeting, and where they are looking to invest. Even if we are not planning to act as administrator, we will give our perspective and if there is a need for directorship or trustee services, our affiliates can fill those roles as an additional service," outlines McDevitt.
Harbour's main bulk of business consists of working with established managers who are trying to do something a little different from the norm. McDevitt explains: "We can offer efficiencies that big shops can't scale to so we are able to price our services a little bit better. We can also tailor our portfolio pricing and reporting technologies to work with new and smaller managers who tend to get priced out by other administrators."
Recently, Harbour has onboarded clients looking to take advantage of segregated accounts companies, particularly for private equity deals or shipping finance structures.
"The work we've done on the private equity side is unique – ventures such as oil and gas exploration, and we've also had a number of conversations regarding various green technologies," says McDevitt.
Harbour can service funds domiciled in any jurisdiction, including the US, Cayman, and BVI but as McDevitt is keen to stress:
"In my view, the importance and benefits of establishing a real presence in Bermuda may not be fully apparent today. As onshore regulation and tax laws develop, it will become increasingly important to be able to show a track record of mind and management in Bermuda and establishing this now may prove to be of material importance to managers, their funds and their investors in the future as these laws develop and onshore regulators and tax authorities seek to bring offshore funds within their remit."
Looking ahead, the one area that McDevitt thinks could and should be bigger in Bermuda is the provision of directorship services.
"If you go to Cayman, there are a good number of companies that provide these services in a formalised way. Our group can provide directors that offer diversity, gender balance and experience across a number of jurisdictions. That's a huge opportunity for Bermuda and for us, as corporate governance becomes more of a focus industry wide," notes McDevitt.
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