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Centaur: Bermuda office was logical choice

Looking ahead: Marc Weaver, left, and Eric Bertrand, of Centaur Fund Services, which has offices in Dublin, London and New York and has now set up in Bermuda (Photograph by Scott Neil)

Centaur Fund Services has opened an office in Bermuda, after being impressed by the island’s welcoming attitude and professional approach to attracting new business.

Centaur is headquartered in Dublin, with offices in London and New York. The fund administrator provides services to client groups who manage in excess of $40 billion.

Setting up in Bermuda was a logical choice for the company for a number of reasons, according to Eric Bertrand, one of the three founding partners.

He worked on the island during the 1990s and 2000s, with Hemisphere Management, which was acquired by Bisys Group and which in turn was snapped up by Citi.

Mr Bertrand and his business partners, who were based in Ireland, decided to branch out on their own.

Battered by the global economic downturn, Ireland in 2009 was a relatively low-cost jurisdiction in which to start up a business, and it was also a country where Mr Bertrand and the other co-founders of Centaur had existing clients.

“The jurisdiction was going through difficulties, so we were able to start off with low costs, which was important,” said Mr Bertrand.

Centaur has since grown from a handful of staff to now employing 70 in Dublin, and with offices in London and New York.

“We started selling in the US from day one, but we’ve become more aggressive in the last few years. We felt it was time to set-up operations in a similar time zone to New York as more clients and potential clients pushed us in that direction.

“When it came to deciding on a jurisdiction we had a look, but it was no contest as far as choosing Bermuda,” said Mr Bertrand. Not only had he previously worked in Bermuda, so had his business partners.

“We love Bermuda as a place to live and work. We have a history here and a lot of former contacts that we can go to.”

The final decision to choose Bermuda as the location for a new office was cemented by the way Centaur was treated by the Bermuda Business Development Agency.

As part of its mission, the BDA endeavours to attract new business to the island and provide a seamless and smooth experience as they go through the process of establishing a presence on the island, and conforming to the necessary rules, and regulations.

Mr Bertrand praised the way the BDA achieved that, recalling that Sean Moran, BDA business development manager, met with him initially last November.

“We were incredibly impressed by how welcoming everyone was, and that made us feel even more certain that we had made the right choice.”

In the space of just eight months Centaur had been able to formally open an office in Bermuda at Ideation House on Pitts Bay Road.

“The BDA cleared a path to help us start the licensing process, to understand the hiring process in Bermuda and to meet with government ministries and agencies as we put our plan together.

“They have been very good and have constantly followed up with us.”

Mr Moran, of the BDA, said: “We’re very excited to see a new fund administrator company set up in Bermuda, and very happy to have assisted in making that happen.”

He said the BDA’s concierge service and a collaborative approach with other organisations, including the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Ministry of Economic Development, had played an important part in Centaur’s decision to come to Bermuda.

“Everyone was co-operative and collaborative, and Centaur felt well treated and welcome.”

Centaur is now looking to build a local team. Marc Weaver, who has previously worked with Mr Bertrand, is chief operating officer.

Mr Bertrand said: “We will be adding to our team in Bermuda, and our global team,” said Mr Bertrand, although at this stage he could not say how many people may be hired in Bermuda.

However, the company was working on converting new clients and is also interested in the strong ILS sector in Bermuda.

Mr Bertrand is confident Centaur will also be a good addition for Bermuda. He said the company brings a level of quality service delivery that has proven successful elsewhere. Centaur has won a string of awards from The Hedge Fund Journal and at the HFM European Hedge Fund Services Awards.

“We can be more flexible and provide that higher level of service. We have converted most of the business we service from other administrators and we continue to grow successfully by adding reputable clients and talented professionals,” said Mr Bertrand.

“Bermuda is not only a jurisdiction for service providers, it has become a market in its own right with more asset managers in ILS and private equity.”