30 to shape the future

Our Founder and CEO, Peter Hughes, has been named one of the 30 individuals tipped to shape the future of the securities services industry.

We are proud to be pioneering a single-source service model that allows our clients to access all the services they need, including an innovative new ESG ratings and score product, under one roof.

Read the write up in Global Custodian’s 30th Anniversary edition to hear why the judges selected Peter as one of the top 30 from an original shortlist of over 100-people below.

Apex’s sudden ascendency over the last two years has been nothing short of exceptional. Less than one year after being bought out by private equity company Genstar, Apex had already cemented itself as one of the top five fund administrators by assets under administration (AUA). Apex achieved this impressive milestone through a rapid acquisition strategy, and the company does not plan on slowing down, a point made by founder and CEO Peter Hughes. “I want Apex to be a top three global fund services provider in the next five to ten years,” he adds.

From 2017 to the end of 2018, Apex has procured Equinoxe Alternative Investments, Deutsche Bank’s Alternative Fund Services business, MM Warburg Asset Services, Ipes, LRI Group and Custom House. In the first four months of 2019, Apex had purchased three US administrators – Atlantic Fund Services, Broadscope and Beacon Fund Services, in addition to the Private Client Services and the Throgmorton business from Link Asset Services. “In the last two and a half years, we have bought 11 businesses, and grown headcount from 600 to around 3,500,” says Hughes. “The integration went smoothly, evidenced by the fact we did not lose a single client.”

At the heart of this growth strategy is product diversification. While Apex began life in 2003 as a pure hedge fund administrator, the firm now offers a multi-asset class solution. In addition to traditional fund administration, Hughes highlights that Apex Group has morphed into a provider of middle-office, depositary, banking, corporate services, and technology.

Our acquisition strategy is not simply about being bigger,” comments Hughes. “It centres around listening to our clients and being aware of the market. We are evolving our business to better service our clients as their needs change. Integrating all of these different businesses enables us to enhance the client experience through the ability to deliver a single-source solution. By consolidating multiple service providers, asset managers can now obtain a variety of products under a single roof, as opposed to engaging with five or six different providers and managing multiple vendors.”

Looking ahead, Hughes believes the environment, social, governance (ESG) and sustainable investment market – estimated to be worth circa $23 trillion, roughly equivalent to 26% of all global assets under management (AUM) – presents a massive opportunity.  While the concept of sustainability is certainly in vogue with asset managers and institutional clients, ESG data is often found, wanting, leading to growing concerns about a "greenwashing" of the wider investment universe.

Increasingly, service providers are responding to this by developing customised ESG ratings for clients and Apex is no exception. Having launched ESG reporting capabilities for listed assets in 2018, Hughes says the company is now developing a solution – Apex GreenLight ESG Ratings – to deliver the first independent ESG rating solution for non-listed companies. Such a tool is likely to draw interest from private equity managers, a number of whom are attempting to muscle in on ESG.

Click Here for the original article and to view the other 29 trail blazers.

Watch the video of Apex’s evolution here: Apex’s evolution in animation


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