Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Ms Windsor came to the Cayman Islands in 2000 as an auditor with Arthur Andersen and joined UBS in 2002 as a fund accountant. She became the head of the Fund of Funds division in 2006.
Ms Windsor said her No. 1 objective is to grow the Fund Services business globally and in Cayman. She added in the alternative space Cayman remains UBS’ largest office. “It is our flagship office and will continue to be so.”
In contrast to many other fund administration firms on island, that have outsourced and reduced staff in response to the cost pressures in the industry, UBS is adding staff, she noted.
“UBS is quite unique; we have not bought out other businesses. We have expanded by taking people from Cayman and sending them to a new location like Toronto in 2006, Singapore in 2011 and New York last year. So we are taking transplants from Cayman to start offices and it has grown from there,” Ms Windsor explains.
Opening the new offices relieved some of the cost pressures, as they enabled the firm to outsource certain processes. However, while employing qualified accountants in Cayman is more expensive, UBS took a different approach to its competitors in that the firm retained all client-facing roles in Cayman, Ms Windsor said.
“We strongly believe that our model, having the primary point of contact in a team that clients deal with all in one location, really gives us a competitive advantage in terms of service. So they don’t have to call around different offices to find out what is happening with the fund. And that is the feedback that we are getting from our clients.”
To offset some of the cost pressures UBS has also made considerable investments in technology over the last several years. “Although there are upfront costs, this has really helped us to process the administration at a cheaper cost using the technology and gaining efficiency there,” she said.
Ms Windsor, who as the global head of Fund of Funds is also responsible for the strategic development of platforms and customised solutions for clients, said producing a net asset value and delivering monthly statements has become a commodity business. Instead investment managers are looking for a partner that can provide them with value added services, for example around new regulations like the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act, the EU Alternative Investment Managers Directive or Form PF.
In addition to regulations in the US and Europe, investors demanding more frequent reporting and more transparency are driving change in the industry. “They want to know what is in the portfolio, how liquid it is, what the counterparty risk is and they want to get that information independently,” Ms Windsor said.
“That is why for us it has been important to make those investments into technology. It is the value added services that are really making the difference.”
In part UBS Fund Services Cayman has done what other fund administrators have done, Ms Windsor noted. “But we have still been able to maintain that primary point of contact which is I think what we are known for.” As a result UBS remains one of the large administrators in terms of the number of employees in Cayman. Global layoffs at UBS announced in 2012 did not affect Cayman Fund Services at all, she said. Staff numbers today are at 160 only slightly below the peak of over 180 just before the credit crisis.
With a leasing agreement for external office space expiring this year and staff moving back into UBS’s own office building, space can become an issue, Ms Windsor said. “With the way that we have been growing, we are going to have to look for [office] space at some point.”