Emerging managers are facing a developing regulatory landscape which places an ever-growing burden on their operations. Partnering with a collaborative firm to help navigate this environment can help them exceed operational due diligence and SEC audits with less difficulty, says Vinod Paul (pictured), chief operating officer, Align.
Emerging managers are facing a developing regulatory landscape which places an ever-growing burden on their operations. Partnering with a collaborative firm to help navigate this environment can help them exceed operational due diligence and SEC audits with less difficulty, says Vinod Paul, chief operating officer, Align.
Are there upcoming regulatory changes which could affect your business and that of your clients? And what industry trends have been impactful in driving growth and development within your firm over the past year?
In February 2022, the SEC proposed new rules in relation to cybersecurity compliance. In March of 2023, they reopened the comment period for the proposed risk management rules and amendments.
Across the board, with both our emerging managers and established funds we are seeing the increased need for a cutting-edge solution that will exceed both regulatory requirements and investor due diligence. We’ve seen increased sophistication from the investor operational due diligence committee, and firms have migrated onto the Align platform for better service and a partner which will allow them to go above and beyond regulatory and investment requirements.
How have client needs and demands changed what has your response been in terms of your service offering?
Over the past three years, the industry has seen incredible changes in three major areas:
The hybrid work force: An increased need for collaborative solutions means that firms need to ensure employees have the same productivity and security wherever they work; whether at home, on the road or in the office.
Increased regulatory demands: The need for secure environments has only increased as regulatory guidance becomes even more stringent and the cybersecurity environment continues to grow riskier.
Increase in use of third parties: Firms need the ability to securely pass data between third parties and themselves while ensuring data is secure at all times and proper governance is in place.
What are your business objectives for the year ahead and how do they align with the needs of your clients?
The Align Managed Services team believes that this industry should expect a service provider that can provide a secure solution with enterprise-level features and redundancies, can exceed investor due diligence, and pass regulatory requirements in a predictable manner with a great service model. Our objectives are to partner with our clients and enable them to leverage technology as an asset instead of experiencing it as a burden. We put just as much emphasis on understanding our clients’ fundamental requirements as we do on developing highly secure and cutting-edge solutions.
What is your outlook for the sector in which you operate for the coming year and how is your firm positioned to support its clients?
Over the past three years, more than 50% of our new business has come from clients who were dissatisfied with previous providers and sought a scalable solution that not only meets their needs but also exceeds their expectations in terms of service quality. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, we anticipate that our clients will face even greater challenges. However, our collaborative approach empowers them to navigate these changes effectively.
A significant driver of Align’s success has been our ability to help clients surpass operational due diligence requirements and successfully navigate SEC requirements. We prioritize both productivity and security for our clients, offering purpose-built solutions that enable them to achieve these dual objectives. Our goal is to provide a seamless experience where our clients can operate efficiently without compromising on robust security measures.
Vinod Paul, chief operating officer, Align – Vinod Paul brings over 20 years of in-depth financial services and technology experience to his role as Align’s Chief Operating Officer. Vinod’s responsibilities include the strategic development of Align’s Managed Services offerings, including oversight of Align Cybersecurity™, the company’s comprehensive cybersecurity risk management solution. In his current role, Vinod is also responsible for managing senior client relationships with alternative asset managers, providing ongoing guidance with respect to industry best practices and forward-looking trends in Managed Services. Widely known as a luminary in the financial services sector, Vinod previously led and innovated a leading Global Managed IT Service provider in its customer-facing engagements, including service delivery and business development on a global basis. Over his 13 years as Managing Director, Vinod helped establish this firm as a premier Managed Service provider in the financial services space. Prior to that, Vinod was a director of technical services for Martin Progressive where he supervised an engineering staff supporting 6,000 customers, as well as a management and engineering consultant to IBM Global Services, Lucent Technologies, Tyco Submarine Systems and Penguin Putnam Publishing. Vinod serves on the global board of directors for Help for Children/Hedge Funds Care, a worldwide nonprofit dedicated to supporting efforts to prevent and treat child abuse. He attended Rutgers University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences.