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Posted May 4, 2021

Searching for a real estate fund admin? Ask these questions.

Searching for a Real Estate Fund Admin Ask These Questions

Like most real estate investment managers, you enjoy serving investors, finding new properties, and growing your business. That’s what makes you successful. Your fund admin should provide the back-office support you need to keep your time focused on these activities that matter most to you and your business.

While choosing the right administrator is critical, many GPs often find it difficult to find partners that meet their needs. This dissatisfaction leads more than 30% to switch providers every year (PEF), which highlights the importance of selecting the best partner from the beginning. Ideally, you should develop a close, long-term relationship with your fund admin that includes strategic discussions about your business and regular interactions about operations.

Whether you’re just starting your search or re-evaluating your current fund admin, we recommend you use these four critical measures to assess a fund admin’s quality and value. The questions below will outline what to ask to determine if you’re getting everything you deserve from a fund admin.

Do they have relevant experience?

Your fund admin’s experience in the industry may determine your access to proven technology platforms and best practices. Ask whether your fund admin has the experience you need:

  • How many real estate firms does it support?
  • What’s the average tenure the team has working in the fund admin, accounting, or audit space?
  • Does the team have an established record of working together so you can avoid the disruption of getting new team members up to speed on your business?
  • Do they have experience supporting your fund type — whether it’s an equity or debt fund or a more complex real estate fund structure, such as a REIT or a master-feeder, offshore, or parallel fund?
  • Do they have the industry credibility needed to gain the approval and satisfaction of LPs?

Do they provide good service?

You provide a high level of service to your investors; your fund admin should be just as responsive to you. Ask whether you’re getting the service you deserve:

  • Are other firms satisfied with their service? Are you?
  • How is your rapport with the team?
  • Are they responsive?
  • Does your fund admin provide adequate access to service representatives and subject-matter experts?
  • Is their accounting team in a time zone that works for your business?
  • Do they share industry best practices with you?
  • Do they offer transparent pricing so you can project your fund expenses over time?
  • Can they reduce your total fund expenses by bundling technology and fund administration?

Can they support your technology needs?

Technology is the backbone of any modern real estate firm today. Has your fund admin helped you assess your technology needs and implement solutions so your office runs efficiently? Consider how your fund admin’s technology platform measures up:

  • Do they leverage technology to deliver a great experience to investors?
  • Can they offer specific examples of their commitment to innovation?
  • Do they have an investor portal that delivers a high-quality experience to investors?
  • Have they automated the distribution of statements and notices so every investor gets the right information?
  • Can their technology give investors direct, 24/7 access to their investment and fund information?
  • How reliable is their technology?
  • Can they help you assess your technology needs and implement solutions so your office runs efficiently?
  • Do they have sufficient engineering resources focused on delivering technology improvements over time?
  • Is the technology easy to use? Is it kept up to date?
  • How do my investors benefit from my fund admin’s technology?

How important are real estate firms to their business?

Just as you’re committed to your investors’ success, your fund admin should be equally devoted to yours. Ask yourself how knowledgeable and committed they are to the real estate industry:

  • What percentage of their overall business is devoted to real estate firms?
  • What percentage of its total revenue do real estate firms represent?
  • Do they understand the intricacies of real estate and your business?
  • Are they a strategic partner who can think beyond debits and credits by deeply understanding your business?

With a proven track record providing leading fund admin services to real estate firms of all sizes and types, we’re ready to serve as a seamless extension of your team and deliver the accuracy and transparency your investors require.

Learn more about Juniper Square Fund Administration.