For Bell Partners, the biggest game changers are Juniper Square’s automated fundraising and eSignature capabilities. With those features in place, they materially improved the accuracy and completeness of their investor subscription documents and reduced the time needed to process subscriptions by at least 60%. Sending and receiving offering documents is a breeze and it’s easy to monitor where investors are in the subscription process. The online subscriptions and eSignature capability means they no longer waste hours trying to decipher handwriting. Senior management has more time to devote to higher impact activities for their business since they no longer have to manually sign hundreds of subscription packages for every fundraising effort.
More Efficient Investor Communications
“Overall, the effectiveness, and efficiency of our investor communications has drastically improved,” Strandberg said. Bell Partners’ previous investor portal had a 20% adoption rate. After introducing the Juniper Square portal, investor usage quickly shot up to 60% and has only continued to increase since then.
By automating the data integration between their investment management and core system, Bell Partners was able to translate their raw data into digestible, self-service data resources, which has enhanced the overall experience for both internal and external users.
Established in 1976, Greensboro, North Carolina-based Bell Partners, Inc. is one of the country’s largest and most consistently recognized* apartment operators and renovators, with $5 billion in assets under management and 1,500 associates managing 63,000 high-quality multifamily communities across the United States. They provide a full range of services, including acquisitions and dispositions, construction, financing, property operations, accounting, risk management and related support. Committed to serving residents, partners, and investors, Bell Partners takes particular pride in their investment management expertise, which has helped them achieve a repeat investor rate of more than 80%.
Prior to the implementation of Juniper Square, the Bell Partners investor relations team was spending significant time in non-value-added activities like answering calls to provide commitment amounts and contribution totals to investors. In need of a new solution to create efficiencies and streamline processes, Tyson Strandberg, who oversees Bell Partners’ Investment Management platform and client experience, looked to the firm’s core value of ‘Prepare for the Future Today’ for inspiration. To lay the groundwork for Bell’s long-term future success, they needed to upgrade their investment management and contact management platform to empower their investors with self-service options, provide the investment management team with tools to better manage investor communications, and, most importantly to them, create an internal and external front-end solution to present their back-end data in an organized and intuitive way.
Search for a Solution
One of Bell Partners’ best practices is to make new vendor selection a strategic, cross-functional initiative. As part of that, they name projects to build internal awareness and encourage stakeholder buy-in. This search was christened Project Bamboo since many characteristics of bamboo—strength, versatility, and longevity—aligned with what they were looking for in an investment management solution. They divided their requirements into must-have functional features and capabilities and what they describe as ‘soft’ criteria. The functional aspects included an enhanced investor portal user experience; fundraising automation and eSignature capabilities; a robust CRM with tracking, reporting and mobile device access; workflows for fundraising, document management, and reporting; and customized dashboard and reporting capabilities.
On the softer side, they were looking for a solution that was real estate-focused, had appealing aesthetics, and was easy to use and navigate. And they expected their chosen technology partner to be responsive, engaged, and have clearly established risk management policies and coverage. After an exhaustive, multi-month search, Bell Partners selected Juniper Square. According to Tyson, “Of the five solution-providers we considered, Juniper Square was the only one that checked off all of our functional and soft needs and the only one that met our fundraising automation and eSignature requirements.”