Market Leader Apex Group outlines its single-source service partner solutions
Having finalised the acquisition of Sanne, and more recently the Maitland business, Apex Group is committed to Africa playing a strategic role in its future growth.
HedgeNews Africa sat down with Alan Keet, Regional Head of Middle East & Africa at Apex Group & Jon Hugill, Managing Director – Fund Services at Maitland (now an Apex Group company), to discuss recent corporate changes and their implications for the fund administration industry in South Africa.
This interview first appeared in January/February 2023 edition of HedgeNews Africa: https://hedgenewsafrica.com/news/2023/02/02/apex-outlines-its-service-partner-solutions/
Please explain the recent changes to Sanne and Maitland in South Africa
AK: In August of last year, Apex Group finalised the acquisition of Sanne, and more recently also closed the acquisition of the fund services business of the Maitland Group.
JH: This means that we are all starting 2023 as part of the Apex Group, holding a leading position in the South African market, across the administration of both the liquid and illiquid fund asset classes. Sanne and Maitland have historically competed for clients, staff but we are now coming together and work as a cohesive unit to give our staff the best opportunities and provide the best possible services to our respective client bases. Together we are 1,000 staff in Cape Town, and the goal is to be 2,000 staff in South Africa by the end of 2023 – an exciting proposition as Apex see South Africa as a strategic hub which will drive much needed employment in the South African economy.
What does this mean for your clients?
AK: Apex clients from both entities in SA will be serviced by the same teams or, where a change will result in enhanced service levels, by teams across the two. The initial integration in the short to medium term entails aligning internal functions, like HR, finance and marketing, so this should have little to no impact on clients.
JH: At Maitland we have a well-established client satisfaction program and work relentlessly to ensure that our service is of the highest quality at all times. This is a philosophy shared by Apex and together with Sanne, we will ensure that our clients continue to be serviced at these high levels, however with the added benefit of the expertise and additional solutions that are available to us via Sanne and ultimately the broader Apex Group, where we will look to leverage a truly global expertise and deliver these locally for the benefit of the South African funds industry.
Do the service offerings of Sanne, Maitland and Apex Group overlap?
AK: Apex Group identified Sanne and Maitland as two well-run businesses that both put client service at the forefront and complement each other well in the clients they service.
Sanne addresses the private equity and hedge fund markets, with the distinction that Maitland is a leader in the CISA regulated hedge fund and mutual and long-only fund markets.
JH: Exactly right – the Maitland / Sanne combination provides the most complete fund service offering available in sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with Apex and its global capabilities, we are able to offer our clients a depth and breadth of service which is unmatched in the local market. Culturally, we have found that Maitland and Sanne locally are an excellent match and we look forward to working collaboratively to disrupt and enhance the funds servicing industry in Africa.
What new services will be available for clients in South Africa?
JH: Being part of a global provider such as Apex Group, opens up some exciting new services for our clients – such as their award-winning ESG Rating & Advisory solutions, and pioneering digital banking services. With Apex Group’s global reach, these services are delivered on the ground by local experts, ensuring that our clients can access all the services they need, wherever they are in the world, through one convenient relationship.
AK: Our clients are increasingly looking for a service partner that can offer a “single-source solution” – all of the services they need under one roof, through one relationship. This reduces the time and headaches associated with managing multiple providers – not to mention the time and cost efficiencies it delivers. These aren’t just theoretical benefits – a recent Total Economic Impact (TEI) report by Forrester Consulting found that on average, clients of Apex Group’s single-source solution, achieved a return on investment of 105% and cost benefits of $5.39m, with a net present value of $2.75m over a three-year period.
Will these changes impact the way you service clients? For example, changes in teams or technology platforms?
JH: Apex have been clear in their commitment that the acquisition transaction should not under any circumstances negatively affect the existing client experience. No clients will be migrated to new platforms unless on request and the intention is that the only changes a client will see are those that will enhance their experience. Similarly, the servicing teams will remain in place, although, in a post-acquisition world, they have access to a pool of skills and knowledge far greater than was ever possible in a legacy Maitland world.
AK: All international products and services are available to South Africa clients so everyone should be onshoring all work where needed. All clients in global jurisdictions should be consolidating their service within the Apex group, to take advantage of service and pricing levels.
What comes next for the combined business in South Africa?
AK: South Africa, and Africa more broadly, will play a key strategic role in the future growth of Apex Group. We’re committed to scaling up our presence even further to service local and international clients and hope to make 1,000 new hires in a short space of time.
JH: Making a meaningful difference in people’s lives through committing to South Africa and helping create more than 1,000 new jobs is very exciting for us and we are so pleased to be part of this journey, especially as we see others in the industry offshoring jobs to other jurisdictions. I think the key imperative is for myself and Alan and our respective teams is to work closely together to ensure that opportunities to enhance servicing to our clients are identified and actioned.