WILMINGTON, Del. (HedgeWorld.com)–PFPC Inc. unveiled this week a software suite of automated tax services that it’s selling to hedge funds.

The system was developed by PFPC and already is used for its current hedge fund administration clientele that total US$18 billion in assets as of yearend. PFPC’s technology features an automated wash sales processing system for debt instruments.

According to officials, these tax-servicing tools were originally available for equity securities and only to PFPC fund accounting clients. The automated wash sales system was put into place within PFPC one year ago to automatically handle wash sales loss deferrals for equity securities.

Handling such calculations on a manual basis can easily become a nightmare, said T. Richard Keyes III, vice president and managing director of taxation for PFPC. In the last year, Mr. Keyes’ taxation group has doubled in size primarily due to the hedge fund work the firm has picked up as the new business from mutual fund business slows down.

The main attraction to the new automated system is in that it allows the firm to process hedge fund’s K-1s faster and also streamlines the tracking process for wash sales, Mr. Keyes added. Current PFPC clients are in the process of being converted to the expanded system.

The reason wash sales are important is due to the tax implications they have for hedge funds. In a wash sale a fund manager sells a stock or bond and then repurchases a “substantially identical” stock or bond during a 30-day period before or after the original sale date. This is what makes the original sale a wash and the Internal Revenue Service disallows the capital loss for that particular period.

“Some have been more successful than others (in creating a wash sales system),” Mr. Keyes said. “The system we have is fully automated.”

PFPC is currently selling the system to its non-administration and non-accounting clients. The firm only needs to have a fund’s specific portfolio data, such as security purchase and sale information to implement the technology. PFPC also plans further enhancements in 2003 including the integration of short portfolios in the processing of wash sales.

Mr. Keyes expects a number of hedge fund clients to sign-up for the stand-alone processing system later this year. So far the product has only been beta-tested with PFPC mutual fund clients.

SBarreto@HedgeWorld.com