Customer Success Story
Cortland is a full-service multifamily investment management firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Cortland operates a series of commingled, discretionary funds and related investment vehicles, and its investors range from individuals to the largest, most sophisticated institutional investors. Cortland owns more than 38,000 multifamily housing units and ranks #36 on the NMHC’s “50 Largest Apartment Owners.”
Cortland has experienced rapid growth from its founding in 2005 to its position today as one of the nation’s leading apartment owners. In response to their growth, Cortland had decided to upgrade their investment management and investor reporting practices from spreadsheets, which weren’t scaling to meet their needs, to a dedicated software system. “We were doing everything twice, at least, trying to track all of the activity across our accounting, investment, reporting, and fundraising teams,” said Melanie Johns, VP of Investor Reporting and Tax.
Search for a Solution
Cortland began by developing a list of all of the capabilities it wanted from an investment management system. “We looked at several different platforms when we made the decision to take the next step in upgrading our investor reporting,” said Johns. “We turned first to our ERP provider, as they told us they had an investment management module that would meet our needs,” she added. “We spent a month just talking about configuration, and it became clear that we were going to need to find an alternative,” said Johns, adding, “To our ERP provider’s credit, they introduced us to Juniper Square.” Johns said, “Where other systems were clunky, Juniper Square was modern and clean. It was the only solution to address everything on our list.”
“We set an ambitious goal of deploying Juniper Square within six weeks, which given our organization’s size, was aggressive,” said Johns. “No one here believed that we could hit that deadline, but in fact we were up and running ahead of schedule, and that was over the holidays no less,” added Johns. “We turned our data—which was a series of spreadsheets in varying formats containing over 5,000 transactions—over to Juniper Square. Ten days later, we were live in the system. It could not have been easier,” concluded Johns.
Cortland now uses Juniper Square to automate all routine investment management workflows, from calling capital, to issuing distributions, to securely distributing sensitive documents like tax forms. “Juniper Square has saved us so much time in so many different areas. Our distributions are now processed automatically, managing investment correspondence now takes a fraction of the time, and we’ve been able to get rid of Excel spreadsheets that we’d been using for years,” added Johns.
A consequence of adopting Juniper Square is that Cortland now has a unified repository of investment data used by different departments across the company. “To have our capital transactions, investor reports, entity and asset details all in one place was a big step forward for us,” said Johns.
The investor reception of Cortland’s Juniper Square rollout has been positive and encouraging. “Two-thirds of our investors logged in within the first two weeks, and instantly I started getting emails back from investors who were blown away. Investors were saying things like ‘this is incredible,’ and ‘I’ve never been able to see my data all in one place before’, which made us feel good about the decision,” said Johns.
One place for data.
“Previously, when an investor would call us, we’d have to go to several different systems to determine what investments they held with us. Now that information is available with one click in Juniper Square,” said Johns.
Increased confidence in reporting.
“Moving to Juniper Square has freed us from having to audit Excel formulas and manage who has which version of which spreadsheet. This has given us more confidence in our numbers and reporting, and saved time,” said Johns. She added, “In the past we would report on a quarterly basis, whatever activity happened in the quarter wouldn’t be reported until several weeks after the quarter ended. Now, we report as we go and investors get information much faster, resulting in a whole different dynamic.”
Increased investor satisfaction.
“Our investors were blown away. From our smallest individual to our largest institutional investor, Juniper Square is working for all of our investors. They’re able to get the data they need, whenever they want. This is a new way for us to work with our investors, and the response has been great,” concluded Johns.