Notable quotables

What are those on the frontline of European private equity saying about the state of fund administration and technology?

?Reporting is an absolute given and raising standards is all part of recognizing who we work for. Limited partners pay our bills, so we're obliged to give them the best possible information.?

Steve Darrington, Chief Financial Officer, Phoenix Equity Partners

?Typically, funds of funds tend to be more demanding [in terms of the information provided to them]. They have their own reporting requirements that are likely to be completely different from those of a small family office for example. While most standard reports will cover 95 percent of what everyone needs, some investors always require more.?

Blair Thompson, Partner, SJ Berwin

?Four or five years ago, detailed quarterly reporting was relatively rare as a concept, but it is much more common practice now. As investors have become more sophisticated, quality information has become more important to them and we [as GPs] need to keep revisiting how we deliver that information.? Philip Bassett, Head of Investor Relations, Permira

?Established funds are established funds – not all GP reporting is at the same level and not all of it is perfect, but for most established funds LPs can quickly get comfortable with what they have in place. For newer funds it's more difficult – they have to demonstrate how they're going to manage the back office in detail.?

Mounir Guen, Founder, MVision

?LPs care about robust, timely and accurate reporting. Whatever system you use, those three elements are non-negotiable.?

Steve Darrington, Chief Financial Officer, Phoenix Equity Partners

?If we had known then what we know now, we might have done things differently.?

David Bull, Director of Finance, Henderson Private Capital

?Cost isn't necessarily the crucial factor – the main difficulty lies in convincing the powers thatbe of the merits of spending money on back office systems.?

Tony Halligan, CFO, Actis

?When we installed the original system, we weren't entirely sure what we wanted or how it might work, but we took quite a bit of comfort from the fact that other private equity firms were using it as we felt this would drive system development towards best practice.?

David Bull, Director of Finance, Henderson Private Capital

?When we were raising Permira Europe III, we were starting to see some specific questions about fund administration, like: ?Describe your operating and risk management procedures?? or ?How do you manage your relationship with your offshore administrator???

Jonathan Lowe, Finance Director, Permira

?I'm only aware of one or two fund managers who have looked atmoving towards Web-based reporting as a way of managing the impact of FoIA.?

Blair Thompson, Partner, SJ Berwin.

?In terms of inhouse v outsourced, there are now more players providing outsourced services who understand private equity better than five years ago. I think firms that are spinning out or US houses expanding into Europe would probably look very closely at outsourcing everything as an option.?

Michael Needley, Finance Partner, Sovereign Capital

One of the major developments for me was the fact that databases were originally installed on robust systems like SQL servers. Once they were adapted into that sort of platform, it made it a whole lot easier to put them into other programmes.?

David Bull, director of finance, Henderson Private Capital