Kathryn Linde, Relationship Manager with Credo, explains why it made sense to use FE Global Funds Registration (GFR) for the registration in South Africa of three new UCITS funds under Credo ICAV (Irish Collective Asset Management Vehicle).
Credo is a global independent wealth management business, set up in 1998, with more than £3.0bn assets under administration (AUA) of which £1bn is discretionary, from some 7,000 client accounts. Around 90 employees work out of the firm’s offices in the UK and South Africa.
In July 2017, Credo launched three UCITS funds under Credo ICAV: the Credo Global Equity Fund, the Credo Dynamic Fund and the Credo Growth Fund. The aim was to open up new distribution opportunities through the provision of a regulated, unitised structure. Before any marketing work could begin, however, the necessary registrations needed to be obtained in both the UK and South Africa.
Fund Partners is the management company partner for the Credo funds, and they recommended using FE’s GFR service to gain the necessary approvals.
This was a welcome suggestion as Credo did not have any prior experience in overseas fund registrations and were very aware that the South African registration would be quite a time-consuming, lengthy and complicated process.
“We knew Fund Partners used FE GFR successfully for other clients, so we were confident in their recommendation. We understood the importance of working with a firm that has market specific knowledge and prior experience in international markets such as South Africa, so we decided to use their services and expertise to manage the entire process on our behalf.”
The application process took a little over six months to complete – a very long time for Credo given that they were keen to begin marketing and promoting the new funds in South Africa but couldn’t do so without the approval of the regulator.
Approval was finally obtained however, and the Credo ICAV was actually one of the first structures of its kind to be allowed into South Africa.
“We can finally begin marketing the Credo funds in this jurisdiction. As we already have a presence in South Africa, we believe this registration will open up more opportunities for us in the local market.”
Access to in-depth specialist knowledge
Fund registration is a complex, time-consuming process with diverging practices and expectations in different jurisdictions. As a result, it is difficult to maintain in-house the depth and breadth of knowledge required for each jurisdiction.
FE GFR was able to provide the expertise and experience that is so important when having detailed discussions about new funds and vehicles with a regulator in a new market. In Credo’s case, it definitely helped to reassure the regulator as to the type of vehicle they were dealing with.
At one point the regulator had some concerns about the ICAV structure in general and wondered if these types of funds should be reclassified as hedge funds – rather than the safe UCITS funds that they generally are. FE was able to clarify this and ‘blazed the trail’ for this kind of structure to be allowed into South Africa.
Significant time-savings for Credo
The FE GFR team communicated directly with the South African regulator and local manager on Credo’s behalf, which alleviated the burden of this time-consuming work.
Continuous support and speedy response
For FE GFR clients, there is no cap on the amount of support provided so clients don’t have to worry about additional charges. This is an attractive proposition: “It’s good to know that if things change or if we have questions – then we can contact FE and get a rapid response,” says Kathryn.
Credo’s funds have now been registered and approved in South Africa - but the relationship with FE does not stop there. It will move into a ‘maintenance’ phase where FE performs all the administrative tasks and ongoing maintenance required to ensure the funds remain compliant. It does this currently for the Credo funds in the UK.
The ability to reach out to a human being on the end of a telephone line with any questions or issues is very reassuring and it definitely adds value, according to Kathryn.
The FE GFR Experience
Summing up her experience of working with FE, Kathryn has the following to say:
“It was very important for us to get approval for the Credo ICAV in South Africa and we were keen to be kept in the loop throughout the process. We were in constant communication with FE GFR throughout. Sophie James was extremely professional in her approach and provided us with regular updates to keep us informed of progress. She also managed our expectations very well, which allowed us to plan realistically.”