31 January 2011
Having set up a global fund administration business the key to its growth, in the 19 countries where Apex has offices, is momentum.
The business employs over 200 staff delivering service locally and it is a more expensive model that those that deliver an outsourced fund administration from centralised processing centres.
Clients like the better service, tailored solutions, knowledge of local regulations and local language speakers but the model only works well with momentum. It is important to have full pipelines across each office and keep them full throughout the year. Two new launches per office monthly is what we aim for.
The frustrating part of running this model is the variables outside of your control. Globally there are periods when momentum just stops.
In Russia it's the first two weeks of January. Everyone in Asia seems to celebrate the Chinese New Year, not just the Chinese, which slows everything down for 3 weeks in February each year.
Scandinavians take most of July and August off - once they see the sun there isn't much work done! All of Europe takes August off. In the Middle East momentum stops in June and sometimes doesn't start until October if Ramadan falls badly.
The US has historically had fewer holidays - most staff get 2 weeks - is that why they reached strong levels of growth and productivity in the past? The world would grow faster and be more productive if everyone didn't go on holiday at the same time and therefore stopping momentum.
Managing a business that needs momentum is difficult when these events occur and you need to plan and budget for them.
We need to be adaptive to the different local cultures and respect religious holidays with a global model and these I can accept but it makes work harder when everyone goes on holiday at the same time....
And finally.....the best example is Singapore where they celebrate Indian, Chinese, Western and local holidays. Isn't that a little excessive?!