The following article appeared in the 29 June 2018 edition of the Guernsey Press.
Since it was founded in 1998 Ipes has enjoyed unparalleled growth and success. Mark Windsor reports:
This year Ipes celebrates its 20th anniversary. Founded in 1998 in Guernsey with one client and five staff, the company has grown considerably. Today it employs 265 people across five European offices: in the UK, Luxembourg, Guernsey, Jersey and Ireland. Ipes works with six of the top 25 fund managers in Europe.
In 2017 it experienced 15 per cent year-on-year growth over its five locations. A pioneer in the fund administration sector, when it was founded Ipes was the only specialist Private Equity fund administrator in Guernsey. It is truly a Guernsey success story and one the the island should be proud of.
In the beginning
When Connie Helyar started out with an idea and a business plan – virtually scribbled on a piece of paper in a coffee-shop – she could hardly have envisaged where those tentative scribblings would lead. Connie and her colleague Peter Gillson had previously been working for a large financial services organisation and had built up excellent relationships with clients who were now looking for a more dedicated client service experience.
Connie says, ‘When I founded the business in 1998 with Peter I could never have imagined it would have been so successful and then grow to such a size. So I am very proud Ipes is celebrating its 20th anniversary.’ Connie continues, ‘We were very lucky. We came to the market at exactly the right time – backed initially by Baring Private Equity, who remain an Ipes client to this day. For the first few years we had no competition and as the Private Equity industry was booming our business was expanding rapidly. Most of our business was then coming through London. Jonathan Blake, who was then a partner at London law firm SJ Berwin, was particularly instrumental in our growth. He liked our business model and had a good relationship with me, so kindly referred new business.’
In its 20-year lifespan Ipes has expanded considerably, experiencing growth every year since it was founded. Though established in Guernsey, it was inevitable that Ipes’ pioneering expertise would create a demand for its services in other jurisdictions. Further offices opened in Jersey, London, Luxemburg and most recently Cork, Ireland. Connie retired from the business in 2008, following a buyout by RJD Partners. She remains a director on several of Ipes’ client boards.
Changing perspectives – same values
Guernsey Operations Director Gary Mauger is in his second spell working for Ipes. Gary joined Ipes in its infancy as staff member number seven. He left and then returned to Ipes in 2015. Gary says, ‘Ipes has undergone considerable growth – I’ve seen it at two quite different stages of development. What was refreshing for me to see when I returned – and remains so – was that the principles upon which Ipes was founded remain the same. High levels of client care, attention to detail and the empowerment and engagement of our teams with their clients make it a great place to work.
Ipes at the forefront
Chris Merry joined Ipes in 2014 as the group’s Chief Executive. He formerly held senior leadership roles in PwC, Clifford Chance and Whitehead Mann. Chris says, ‘Ipes goes from strength to strength as a leading provider of outsourced services to Private Equity in Europe. We’re delighted to be celebrating 20 years of business success.’ Chris continues, ‘Highly attuned to our clients, consistently focused on their behalf and proactive in our responses to the market, to changing legislation and in the deployment of new technologies that enhance our service, we’re keen to see that Ipes stays at the forefront of the industry.’ In the two decades since Ipes was founded, Fund Administration has evolved considerably to keep pace with major regulatory changes and their associated demands. Ipes has an established track record of investing in new products and services and proactively supporting clients in an ever-changing regulatory environment. They have demonstrated this through the introduction of services such as AIF Depositary in 2014, FATCA reporting in 2015 and the launch of The ID Register in 2016.
Technology and growth
Technology has been a key part of Ipes’ phenomenal growth story. Investing in the right technology solutions has been a major focus for Ipes and has played a large part in how they provide their fund management services. Capital Tracker is their in-house web-based system and is fairly unique within the industry – as their focus is purely on Private Equity they didn’t feel that an off-the-shelf IT solution would provide them with everything they needed. It was developed entirely with the requirements of Private Equity in mind.
From Capital Tracker evolved The ID Register (TIDR), which Ipes launched in 2016. It was a major undertaking for the company and something they strongly believed would benefit the industry and their clients. Private Equity is a fastmoving area, but there has traditionally been a real lag in the investor vetting process. The current paper-based process of investor due diligence is time-consuming and repetitive, requiring investors to submit the same information over and over again for every investment they make. TIDR is an online platform which allows individuals to create a profile for their due diligence requirements.
Ipes in the community
Ipes has not only invested in technology but also in its local communities. Ipes sponsored the World Aid Walk in Guernsey for 20 years and the Siam Cup across Jersey and Guernsey for four years. Ipes has also donated thousands of pounds to local charities through its Charity of the Year scheme including the Guernsey Blind Association, the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation and Home-Start.
A new chapter opens
At a momentous time for Ipes the business is about to enter a new chapter. It has been acquired by Apex, a global fund services firm backed by Genstar Capital, and the deal is expected to be finalised in the third quarter this year. Chris Merry says, ‘Apex and Genstar were natural partners for us and ones that mirrored our commitment to innovation and exceptional customer service. We pride ourselves on our dedication to providing a robust set of capabilities to clients worldwide and we’re thrilled that Apex’s broad global reach will enable us to build out our client offerings with a number of new solutions. We’re confident this partnership will bring a wealth of benefits to both Ipes clients and Apex clients in Europe and across the world.’ Ipes has celebrated its birthday with staff events in all its locations and client parties in London and Guernsey.
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