Business in brief

Sara Galletly, partner, Mourant

IQ-EQ acquires Blue River Partners

IQ-EQ has bought Blue River Partners, a US service provider for alternative asset managers. The newly combined IQ-EQ US operation will have a total of 200 staff as a result of this transaction.

Founded in 2009, Blue River services more than 400 clients across the US with 180 team members in seven offices: Dallas (HQ), Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

The firm provides fund administration to private equity funds; fund operations, middle office and outsourced CFO services to hedge funds; management company operations services; as well as regulatory compliance solutions across all advisory structures.

In addition, Blue River’s offering includes tax compliance and advisory services; IT and cybersecurity consulting and managed services; as well as a host of operations, tax and IT services to portfolio companies and assets owned by private equity funds.

IQ-EQ group executive chairman Serge Krancenblum said, “The acquisition of Blue River marks a key milestone for us as it strategically increases our presence in the U.S., the largest and fastest growing fund administration and regulatory compliance market in the world, cementing our position as one of the top 4 investor services firms globally.”

The investor services group has more than 2,800 people in 23 jurisdictions and has about US$450 billion in assets under administration.

Hedge funds up 8.67% last year

The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index returned 8.67% in 2019 and more than a third of managers (37.6%) generated double-digit gains.

North American hedge funds were up 9.06% for the year but underperformed stock markets like the S&P500 which gained 28.88% and NASDAQ Composite which was up 35.25% in 2019. China-focussed funds returned 16.04% based on the country’s underlying equity market rally.

Strong equity markets also supported long-short equity strategies which gained 11.24% throughout the year. But the strategy dropped 0.35% in the first month of 2020.

Meanwhile, fund managers focussing on crypto currencies gained 16.41% throughout 2019, Eurekahedge reported. The company’s recently launched Crypto-Currency Hedge Fund Index was up 22.29% in January, supported by the strong performance of Bitcoin, which ended the month up 31.63%.

Despite investor redemptions of US$127.5 billion, the global hedge fund industry’s assets under management increased by $10.3 billion.

Mourant appoints five new partners

Sara Galletly, partner, Mourant

Mourant has appointed five new partners, bringing the total number of partners at the offshore legal and governance services firm to 64, with 12 partners based in the Cayman Islands office.

Sara Galletly, a member of the Cayman corporate team; Amy Demetriou and Sarah Huelin, members of the Jersey zorporate team; Mathew Cook, a member of the Jersey litigation practice; and Ed Thorogood, global operations director in Mourant Governance Services, all became partners of Mourant LP on 1 Feb. 2020.

Sara Galletly is part of the specialist financial services regulatory team and has experience in both Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands regulatory matters including anti-money laundering, beneficial ownership, economic substance, regulation of Cayman funds and other vehicles, data protection and other evolving regulatory regimes. Prior to specialising in regulatory law, Galletly’s offshore practice focused on investment funds, as well as general corporate law and structured finance transactions. She joined Mourant in April 2016.

Cayman Islands office managing partner, Hayden Isbister, said: “Sara is a fantastic addition to the partnership and a valued member of our Cayman team.”

He said Galletly is one of three financial services regulatory lawyers promoted to partner this year as the firm is building capability in this area, in response to growing demand from clients for regulatory services, especially the Cayman Islands.

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