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Custom House Considers Expansion to US, Adds Servi

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DUBLIN, Ireland (–Hedge fund administrator Custom House is adding features to its online fund information platform and may open new offices in other countries, starting with the United States.

The firm is considering Chicago as the location for its U.S. headquarters, said David Blair, managing director at Custom House. He expects a decision in the next six months. Among the services that will be offered is compliance with the USA PATRIOT Act and other regulatory requirements. Custom House recently strengthened its compliance team and developed procedures for this purpose, including internal controls for funds.

Mr. Blair tentatively expects the new office to start with around six people and replicate the systems that are in place in Dublin. Custom House already has a marketing presence in San Francisco. Asia is another area for future expansion, but the focus is on the United States right now.

In the meantime, Custom House has added to its technological capabilities. It licensed CorrectNet’s infiPOINT web reporting software to enrich its existing integrated platform, PFS-Paxus from Pacific Fund Systems. New functions, due to launch in April, include online delivery of standard Paxus reports and interactive and graphical features on the secure Custom House web site.

Managers will be able to view and analyze their portfolios in depth. Options will be available to view interrelated reports, charts, graphs and drill down to various levels of supporting detail. Investors will also be able to access their accounts for daily data on NAV. “We’re also looking at providing risk management functions,” added Mr. Blair.

Custom House, established in 1989, currently administers approximately 160 funds for more than 60 investment management clients, with assets under administration in excess of US$3.5 billion. It recently became the first hedge fund administrator in the world to be awarded a Moody’s Baa1 MQ (investment equivalent management quality) rating.

The firm is a result of the Irish effort, starting in the late 1980s, to make Dublin into a center for financial services, primarily to boost employment. This has resulted in the city becoming a serious rival to Luxembourg in providing administrative and custodial services for funds.

There are now close to 50 fund administration companies in Dublin. Some funds also register on the Dublin Stock Exchange, which they can do while domiciled elsewhere, such as the Caribbean.

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