DMS Executive Director Nicholas Parkes was interviewed by the magazine Andy a Luxembourg for its December 2015 issue.
DMS pioneered the professionalisation of fund directorship services in the Cayman Islands. Now, says Luxembourg head Nick Parkes, it has grown into a global group that sees strong opportunities for alternative investments in the grand duchy.
How did DMS become the world's largest dedicated fund governance business?
DMS has been active as a provider of services to investment funds for the past 14 years, starting out as a provider of directors in the Cayman Islands, where we remain the dominant player in the market. We institutionalised the directorship business by hiring well-qualified people and providing them with the services they needed to carry out their duties, such as IT support. Over the year, DMS developed new offerings including corporate services, FATCA support and risk management, extended its business to Europe, and launched a management company platform. Today we employ over 225 people in Grand Cayman, Luxembourg and Dublin as well as business development centres in Hong Kong, New York, São Paulo and London and offer a full range of services, especially to alternative funds. However, DMS remains a pure player focused on governance, unlike competitors that risk conflicts of interest because they also provide fund administration.
What services does your platform offer?
Our Super ManCo platform enables external managers to set up both UCITS and AIFMD vehicles as sub-funds, access a wide range of information and delegate functions such as EMIR reporting and risk management; we also provide ManCo services to clients outside the platform. We provide experts both as directors and areas such as in distribution, and use state-of-the-art technology to facilitate our clients' business, resolve their problems efficiently and provide them with market knowledge, wherever they may be in the world. The days are gone when directors could carry out their duties using an Excel spreadsheet on a laptop at the kitchen table. There is the issue of liability – everything has to be recorded and kept secure, which requires significant investment.
What opportunities do you identify for the future?
Within the group we will continue to invest in people and IT, because scale is critical in our industry. We are ambitious about prospects in Luxembourg, which continues to attract new UCITS and alternative fund business – and we believe the hedge fund sector could grow, thanks to the strong brand Luxembourg enjoys among clients in France, Switzerland and Germany for example. We actively encourage our clients to use Luxembourg as a centre of excellence for their business, as an ideal market for setting up funds and accessing European investors, and where they can call on independent expertise in areas such as risk management capabilities are critical for alternative. We also see opportunities among leading US fund firms that want to sell in Europe and need local support and expertise.
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