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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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Growing a funds business Back  
As business development manager for Fortis Fund Services (Ireland) Limited, targeting potential clients is top of the agenda for Philip Craig.
6.45am Wake up to the sounds of my daughter Lucy. Who needs an alarm clock when you have a two-year-old child?

7.30am Walk to Skerries station for the 7.42am train, which arrives on time. A year and half ago driving to work became a stressful daily routine so I decided to switch to the train service.

8.30am I arrive at Fortis and make my way to the kitchen for more tea. I return to my desk, login and look for news alerts on funds on different websites. Login to my emails, scan through them and review the more urgent messages. Sinead, my assistant, arrives in with my appointments for the week and with some telephone messages. I review some of the arranged meetings and take note of what needs to be prepared. I get a call from my colleague in the Hong Kong office and we discuss some of our mutual clients and other related new business prospects.

9.30am I put together my report on a fund of hedge funds conference in Geneva the previous week. The conference was well attended and we were fortunate enough to have sponsored the event. I compile a list of the people that I met and do a report on the Geneva based clients that I visited. The key is to summarise the details immediately as they can be easily forgotten days later!

10.00am Meet with Brian from our Business Development Support team, and discuss some new business prospects. Brian also provides me with a summary of the operations of the funds that are due to launch either at month-end or year-end. We put together an action list to ensure that these funds are launched without any operational hiccups. The action list entails all operational aspects to a fund including valuations and investment accounting, shareholder services, fund accounting, and compliance issues. We pencil some ‘pre-launch meetings’ for the coming weeks, which will in some cases include our sister company. Our sister company, Fortis Global Custody Management and Trustee Services (Ireland) Ltd provide custody to all our ‘fund of funds’ (funds that invest in underlying funds).

10.30am Meet with Anne Marie, our company lawyer, to discuss and review issues on a particular fund’s prospectus. We go through some of the more technical and operational aspects of the prospectus, which she has collated from the management team, and agree on issues that need to be highlighted to the fund’s lawyers. The client has requested a response by close of business that day. Depending on the jurisdiction of a fund, the legal and authorisation process can impact the timing of a fund launch and it is therefore crucial that responses to legal matters are made in a timely manner.

11.00am Make a few phone calls to some prospects including a European contact that is looking to launch a new hedge (alternative investment) fund. I discuss the fund’s structure and details of the fund with him. This looks like very good potential business. I finish our conversation by requesting more detailed information, to be provided by email, and promise to revert back to him that day with service offering on Fortis Ireland. I receive another call from an existing client who informs me that he has referred a French client to Fortis. Always the best source for referrals!

11.20am Receive draft prospectuses of two new Cayman domiciled funds that are being launched at year-end. During this time I get a call from a client who wants Fortis to participate in a conference call at 3.30pm in the afternoon. The conference call will involve the client, the fund’s lawyers and Fortis.

12.20pm I meet with Suzanne from the investment and accounting department, to discuss a special reporting request from a client. We call the client and agree on providing new customised reporting.

12.30pm Meet with a good friend, Fergal McGrath, head of banking at KBL Bank. We have the usual chitchat over lunch at the local Harbourmaster pub. It’s always useful to get updates on current issues relating to front office activities, especially asset-backed securities, which is where Fergal’s expertise lies.

1.40pm Finish off reviewing the prospectuses and revert back to Anne Marie with my comments. Some prospectuses take longer than others to review and it so happens that these are pretty standard, which takes less time to review them - thankfully.

2.15pm Finish working on an internal business development report to be submitted to our head office in Amsterdam.

3.00pm Take a break from my computer and go down to Darragh from our shareholder services department for a chat. I bring to his attention a potential request from a new client, which may require system enhancements to our shareholder system. I promise to revert back to him as soon as I hear of further developments.

3.30pm Attend the conference call to discuss issues on a new fund structure, which is different to our normal fund structures. We come up with some ideas on how the fund can be structured in way that will eliminate potential problems and enable the smooth operation of the fund.

4.15pm Return to my office to find that four telephone messages have been left. One is from our marketing officer in London who wants to discuss some marketing issues and some prospective advertising opportunities for Fortis Fund Services. Another call involves a client who has requested Fortis to carry out additional services for their funds. We agree verbally on a fee and I promise to confirm by email that day.

4.30pm Review business development issues with Brenda, our managing director, and plan meetings to our London clients in two weeks time. The visit coincides with an awards ceremony where Fortis has been nominated for an award in fund services.

4.50pm Meet with Michael (fresh back from his honeymoon in South Africa) from our compliance department and we go through our assessment procedure for two new clients.

5.30pm Respond to some more emails and queries before compiling a ‘to do list’ of actions for the next day. Prepare a presentation for a new prospect meeting next day. Check for more news alerts on funds on various websites. Also read some funds industry magazines and other industry related publications before dashing across to Connolly station to catch the 7.13pm train back to Skerries. It’s a chance for me to relax (standing) and read the newspaper.

8.00pm Arrive home. Both my wife and I eventually relax over a late dinner and some wine. It’s time to recharge the batteries for another day tomorrow and possibly a very different day than the one today!

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