Genstar buys two fund administrators, as PE firms shift to third-party model
Genstar Capital is buying two private equity fund administrators, Apex Fund and Equinoxe Alternative Investment Services, and combining them into one company. The transactions, which are for undisclosed amounts, come, as more private equity firms begun turning to third-party administrators, in part to provide more transparency to limited partners. As regulations become increasingly complex, more firms are gravitating to TPAs.
Apex Fund Services provides back office, middle office, regulatory reporting, and other administrative services to asset managers across all asset classes. The company, based in Bermuda, was founded in 2003 by Peter Hughes. With the addition of Equinoxe, the newly combined company will administer nearly $80 billion in assets and will expand its middle office support services. Hughes will continue to lead the merged company as CEO and will also retain an equity stake in the business.
Genstar is a San Francisco-based private equity firm that backs middle-market businesses with at least $10 million in Ebitda. Genstar has been quite active lately. In March, the firm closed a $3.95 billion middle-market fund and acquired clinical trial tech provider Bracket Global LLC. Genstar also backed electrical parts designer Power Products in March. Genstar focuses on the industrial technology, healthcare, software and financial services sectors. The firm also sold Tecomet, a producer of medical and aerospace parts, to Charlesbank Capital Partners in May.
The current deal comes as few PE firms have tried to build giant back offices, however the trend to do so could shift as funds and private equity firms grow larger. Big companies, such as MetLife (NYSE: MET), have also engaged in similar acquisitions. The global insurance provider closed a deal to buy AFP Provida, the largest pension fund administrator in Chile, for $2 billion in September 2013. Other financial services deals include: Genstar Capital-backed Mercer Advisors Inc. acquiring investment advisory firm Duckworth Wealth Advisors Inc.; Lucia Capital Group’s investment in West Coast Asset Management; Aon Risk Solutions’, the risk management arm of brokerage firm Aon Plc (NYSE: AON), purchasing Stroz Friedberg Inc. for an undisclosed amount; and Bain Capital Credit’s forming Bain Capital Specialty Finance Inc. as a business development company to make direct loans.