We chatted with Gavin Devitt, Equiom’s recently appointed Head of Client Solutions – Fund Governance to learn more about his professional background, the latest trends and the evolving role of fund managers.
What is your professional background and how did you get into the fund space?
I’ve now been involved in the funds industry for more than 15 years. I started my career after college going straight into the accounts and treasury departments at globally recognised brands before making the conscious decision to move into the funds industry which was really booming in Ireland in the early noughties. After an equal number of interviews and offers, I chose a global fund administrator to learn my trade as a Fund Accountant in this new sector. Subsequent roles in investment management trading, investor relations as well as time spent in Asia helping to grow a fintech company gave me a full understanding of the funds industry, as well as the experience to help companies move in a strategic direction while keeping clients at the core.
What does Brexit mean for cross-border funds?
Brexit presents a lot of challenges but also many opportunities. One opportunity for companies could be an overhaul of systems and processes as well as potentially consolidating various structures and teams in order to streamline their business. In addition, many investment managers looked at various EU countries to set up operations in, in order to keep an EU presence. Ireland, Luxembourg, Germany and France were key winners with many UK firms setting up offices in these countries. This allows managers to continue to operate in, and market to investors within Europe.
What are the latest trends you’re seeing across the funds industry in Europe / worldwide?
Over the last few years, and particularly since the global pandemic, most investment managers are moving towards outsourcing many of the traditional functions which they previously managed in house. These include AML oversight, CRS, ManCo, HR functions and IT. It has been proven that remote working works and there are fewer requirements to have multiple offices in expensive capital city locations. Plus, some of the roles which I have mentioned do not require full time support and therefore it makes sense to outsource to providers who can fulfil these services to a high standard at a fraction of the cost. There is more flexibility around these arrangements right now.
Any predictions for the rest of the year?
ESG will continue to weigh on people’s minds when it comes to investment manager’s decisions. The demand is coming from the investors who are looking to use their financial clout to create a better world for the future. The country regulators are also getting on board with these initiatives which I can see becoming more prevalent in the months and years ahead.
So when you are not caught up in the world of funds, what do you do to wind down?
Typically I would have said travel, travel, travel as I love to experience new cultures, food, music – but given that travel has been off the cards for some time now, I’ve taken the time to explore my surroundings and go for a walk each day and get some sea air (even if there is driving hail and sleet). I love to spend a day in the mountains and regularly head into the hills when I can.