With over two decades of experience in fund administration, Des Johnson, CEO of Centaur, believes that the single most important priority in this industry is delivering exceptional client experience. He is passionate about client service and continuously strives to place it at the heart of Centaur’s service offering. Des believes this experience must run through every aspect of the business and reflect the increasing demands of clients. No less than a complete understanding of the client has become a prerequisite for successful administrators as they deliver a quality client experience that continuously evolves with their clients. “I’m honored to lead Centaur USA and am committed to accelerating our US momentum which has already experienced phenomenal growth.
The prospects for our business in North America in the coming years are exciting as clients continue to gravitate to Centaur’s “client first” approach,” says Des.
Centaur understands what is important to the Private Equity sector.
Their services are provided by the most experienced Private Equity team in the industry, backed by their technology platform, which delivers open, transparent, customizable reporting based on client requirements.
“We understand that Private Equity structures can be complex. In order to build a successful partnership, we know the importance of listening and learning about each client’s business until we understand their needs,” says Des. “Only then can we provide specialized administration services that are both responsive and transparent. We use a combination of the best of both internal and external systems and ensure the most secure and robust processes are in place.” Centaur continuously reviews the workflows and invests accordingly to ensure the professional service provided to the funds is of the highest standard.
Des and his team work with clients to develop customized solutions that enable them to run their businesses cost-effectively. Irrespective of the strategy, structure, or jurisdiction, Centaur adds value to the client’s business. They have always invested heavily in technology which has become critical to client service, and are proud to offer immediacy, personalization, and transparency, all on an accessible and secure platform. However, person-based client service is still the bedrock of Centaur’s business that works alongside technology to provide advice and assistance based on experience.
“At Centaur, we have the technology platform to fully support our clients. We also get on the phone with clients and walk them through best practice, how we have seen others resolve issues, what we have learned from prior crises etc.,” explains Des. “This is in sharp contrast to many competitors who are relying solely on technology platforms.”
Centaur’s success is based on two key differentiators which will continue to guide them into the future. The first is accountability, and the second is excellent client service. Centaur believes that accountability counts and takes contractual responsibility by signing up to detailed deliverables in legally binding Administration and Service Level Agreements. Centaur’s exceptional client service is far more than a help desk: experienced staff is always on hand to deal with queries. Centaur has always invested heavily in technology which has become critical to client service. Ultimately, it is still a people-driven business. Their commitment to understanding businesses and communicating directly with clients to help them solve the challenges they see every day is why their clients stay with Centaur.
A client case study demonstrates how Centaur is laser-focused on accountability and client services: After 18 years of self-administering their funds, Sentient Equity Partners (SEP)—originating from The Sentient Group, the preeminent private equity fund in the natural resources sector—decided to outsource their fund administration having outgrown their internal infrastructure. Sentient also wanted to offer their Limited Partners an independent fund administration solution with specialist knowledge to fulfill all reporting and regulatory requirements. Sentient chose Centaur for its expertise and independence. After converting Sentient’s historical data onto Centaur’s PE system, Centaur PE then mirrored Sentient’s IRR calculations to ensure the onboarding process was effective and seamless. Centaur now manages all fund administration for Sentient, including investor services, fund accounting, web portal management, and reporting. The result is reduced costs and increased efficiencies for the Sentient’s funds. Benefits include:
Centaur PE converted 18 years of administration history onto Centaur’s PE software solution and mirrored Sentient’s IRR calculations.
Centaur is now responsible for Sentient PE fund administration, accounting for their GP entities and trusts, CRS, FATCA, AML Services, and all capital call and distribution processing for their LPs.
Centaur PE reduced costs and risks for Sentient while providing a more independent administration solution to Sentient’s Limited Partners.
Sentient enjoys improved technology with the most innovative systems in the market that will grow with the firm.
Centaur PE’s experienced team ensures Sentient is kept up to date with regulatory requirements.
One of the company’s proudest successes is that since its inception in 2009, Centaur has never lost a client. “We work hard every day to build a client-first culture throughout the firm, which has led to our 100% retention rate,” says Des. “Our relationships with our clients are central to our success. We are committed to providing excellent client service by being accessible, earning trust, and delivering outstanding service every time.”
2021 has seen several senior PE hires in both North America and Europe. Since launching their Private Equity Service five years ago, Centaur has gone through exponential growth in the sector. With these new senior hires, the group can boast an even stronger PE presence in both the United States and Europe with experienced teams focused on providing specialized administration services to Centaur’s PE clients that are both responsive and transparent.