Cut to the chase
“With Juniper Square, we now have an engaged, integrated fund admin services company,” says Windebank, “one that’s effective in performing all of the roles they perform. There’s no line between where the software platform ends and the service provider begins.”
Windebank says, “Just a couple of months ago, we lacked the controls, the reporting capability, and the back office credibility that a professional fund or project manager has. Now, we’re able to appeal to institutional investors. Without Juniper Square, we wouldn’t be anywhere near this level of institutional quality.”
“Whenever we point out a way to improve Juniper Square, the team actually listens. That’s not how it worked with our old provider, where we were bringing up issues and problems we were having. They would just never get fixed.”
Wolverton Capital is an investment firm based in Santa Monica focused on apartment developments in second-tier cities in partnership with best-of-class local developers. Wolverton’s syndicate of high net worth individual and family office investors are interested in building a diversified portfolio of multifamily investments around the United States. While Wolverton’s model relies on project-by-project fundraising, its relationship with investors is fund-like as its investor group remains largely consistent from project to project. Wolverton prioritizes providing a simple, investor-friendly, and consistent experience to investors across all projects to minimize the need to introduce new investors into its syndicate over time.
Wolverton was managing their fund administration in-house using legacy software, and knew they needed to find a different solution—they felt the software was hard to use and unable to deliver what they needed. Jason Windebank, Principal of Wolverton Capital, stated, “What we thought were basic functions were impossible to do.”
Windebank was also apprehensive about how staff and process limitations might impact their investor relationships. He remarked, “We were taking a reputational risk, because there was a high probability that we were going to make a mistake, either in reporting to investors, how we were producing statements, or how we were maintaining the books. It was easy for an accounting mistake to slip through the cracks and make its way into a tax return or investor statement. I was afraid of what the consequence would be if we had to pull back a K-1 because we goofed somehow.”
At the end of the day, Wolverton needed to focus more on real estate and worry less about whether their fund administration was holding the business back. “Our investors don’t come to us because we’re excellent at accounting,” said Windebank, “they come to us because we’re experts at finding real estate investments, and that’s the way that we want to build our business out. We want to develop the real estate side of our business and find excellent investments, and do that at greater scale.
Windebank knew that Wolverton had to do better.
After learning about Juniper Square’s fund administration services, Wolverton’s interest was piqued and they reached out to learn more. The unique blend of expertise and innovation that Juniper Square brought to the table drew Windebank in right away.
Choosing Juniper Square’s fund administration services was an easy decision for Windebank. “We immediately recognized that if we were going to build out an in-house team with the same experience and capabilities as the Juniper Square team, it would’ve been impossible—we don’t have the experience to know how to put together a team like that.”
Windebank was also in search of a combined software and services platform. Juniper Square stood apart for its easy-to-use, comprehensive software solution and deep bench of experts. As Windebank said, “Some fund admin companies use their own proprietary software that isn’t nearly as robust or developed as Juniper Square. “By partnering with Juniper Square, we get access to a much deeper team, and a management structure we could not imagine implementing ourselves.”
By partnering with Juniper Square, we get access to a much deeper team, and a management structure we could not imagine implementing ourselves.
Shortly after signing up with Juniper Square, Wolverton was able to quickly notify investors and start seeing positive results right away.
“At first, we were nervous about having our family office investors switch over and potentially be unable to use the system or find their documents. But we’ve had zero confusion,” said Windebank. “Also, our larger investors—ones with significant amounts of risk—are concerned with things like controls and institutional-quality processes and procedures. These have also been significantly mitigated with Juniper Square.”
With Juniper Square now maintaining the firm’s accounting, Wolverton now has a reliable system of record. Windeback stated, “Juniper Square covers every aspect of our books. When something doesn’t reconcile or doesn’t make sense, they ask us about it. If we don’t know the answer, they force us to find out—and I say this in a very positive way. When something doesn’t make sense, they tell us, and they make it clear we need to reconcile it. Nothing falls through the cracks. We’ve eliminated the reputational risk.”
Windebank estimated that he’s not only saving at least $100,000 that would’ve been spent on an in-house strategy—more importantly, he said, “We’ve gained the ability to scale.”
“We’re partnering with a company with a vision of where they’re going that’s compatible with where we’re going,” Windebank added. “It’s been a pleasure working with Juniper Square, and we’re here for the long run.”
Metrics as of 5/1/2022