The Trend of Outsourcing is Finally Observed in the Private Equity Sector
Traditionally Investment Banks have been at the forefront of operations outsourcing. Almost all the biggest investment banks either have captives or have vendor arrangements in low-cost countries like India. Private Equity in comparison is the new kid on the block. Venture Capital is even newer. As the traditional model of a fixed management fee of the AUM comes under strain, Private Equity firms must look for alternatives to bring down the costs. Also for funds, that just invest along the bandwagon, with minimum analysis and fewer analysts to support operations, have started giving an impression to Limited Partners, that they possibly could do it themselves and save on the unnecessary fund management fee. Hence Private Equity needs to expand operations and expand it cheaply. That is where Private Equity Outsourcing becomes increasingly important.
Why Private Equity Outsourcing or Venture Capital Outsourcing is business-critical now?
Private Equity Outsourcing is also referred to as Private Equity Back Office Outsourcing, Private Equity Fund Administration Outsourcing, Private Equity Research Outsourcing, Private Equity Business Process Outsourcing, or Private Equity Fund Outsourcing. On the Venture Capital side, the names that are used are Venture Capital Outsourcing, Venture Capital Fund Outsourcing, Venture Capital Business Process Outsourcing, etc.
Outsourcing has produced long-lasting benefits as Investment Banks have been enjoying it for over a decade now. Here are the major ones:
Cost Savings: It brings in cost savings in the tune of 30-70% depending on the location of the fund operations. This means a higher percentage of management fees can be booked as the fund profits or more returns to limited partners.
Skill Advantages: Private Equity operations are usually performed by small teams. Venture Capital teams are even smaller. All that leads to quick decision making and lower costs, but also results in a lack of business-critical skills. Outsourcing gives access to those skills for smaller Private Equity and Venture Capital teams
Extended Team: Outsourced team acts as an extended team that works on plug and play model. You ramp up when required and dismantle when not required. Just before an acquisition, have a higher number of analysts and after the investment, when work-load lessens, have a lower number of analysts. That leads to costs optimized as per the work-load
Time Zone Advantages: The work moves at double the pace. Teams when they leave work in evenings in the United States, United Kingdom, and parts of Europe, drop a message to the teams based out of India to carry on further work. Similarly, the team based out of India drops the work in the evening their times to be found by their client teams in their mornings to further work on. Hence critical jobs move at effectively double the pace, day and night literally!!
Confidential: A due diligence does not always happen with the target knowing about it. Sometimes it is quick and confidentiality is required. It is difficult to perform due diligence discretely by the in-house teams. It can be done by an outsourced player without the name of the interested party getting out.
So what all could be outsourced under Private Equity outsourcing?
Private Equity Outsourcing trends or Venture Capital outsourcing trends could be divided under one of the following functional specializations being outsourced.
Private Equity Outsourcing or Venture Capital Outsourcing practically works across the operational value chain of the fund operations and management.
Here are the elements that could be outsourced without any problems in quality or productivity:
Fund Raising and Investor Relations: All operational aspects of fund-raising and investor relations could be outsourced. This includes pitch decks for funds and the portfolio companies, Investor reach-out programs, confidential information memorandums or Private Placement Memorandums, CRM data management, and Newsletters
Investment Operations: This is where the maximum potential of outsourcing is. Almost all aspects of investing can be outsourced effectively like industry reports and analysis, country reports and analysis, target company profiles, target company due-diligence, financial modeling, valuations, and other ongoing or ad-hoc assignments related to investment analysis. Private Equity research outsourcing or Venture Capital research outsourcing is one of the fastest-growing areas here
Portfolio Management: If it is for Private Equity or Venture Capital firm that gets involved hands-on in the operations of its portfolio companies, it makes all the sense to establish a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for all the work related to Strategy, Research, Data Analytics, Procurement, and Digital Marketing to be aggregated at one place for all the portfolio companies. If that place is in a low-cost country, it brings in massive cost savings as compared to having similar functions separately in all portfolio companies. Also, assignments can be prioritized as per board meetings. Any project that worked in a given portfolio company can be quickly initiated for another portfolio company as the team is centralized.
Fund Administration: Private Equity Fund Administration or Venture Capital Fund Administration is something that has caught the fancy of limited partners recently. It makes sense to keep the financial reporting of a fund with a third party. This ensures financial risk is reduced. It also leads to best practices of fund management being followed along with unbiased financial reporting to the investors. This is one element that is advisable to be outsourced as a best practice. Multiple elements of Private Equity Back Office Outsourcing or Private Equity Business Process Outsourcing like accounting and expenses form a part of this. This is quite similar in the case of Venture Capital Business Process Outsourcing or Venture Capital Back Office Outsourcing.
Other aspects of fund management that are usually outsourced are Strategy, Research, and Analytics
About Magistral Consulting
Magistral Consulting (www.magistralconsulting.com) has helped dozens of Private Equity and Venture Capital firms in outsourcing their operations. With delivery centers based out of India, it has sales offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Oslo, and Singapore. To drop a business inquiry, visit https://magistralconsulting.com/contact/
About the Author
Prabhash Choudhary is the CEO of Magistral Consulting and can be reached at Prabhash.firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries or clarifications.