Alternative Asset Managers Heads Up! An ESG Wave is Headed to Your Mid-Market

Navatar Helps Meet Investors' ESG Wants Despite Donald Trump’s climate change skepticism and deregulation promises, one of our major predictions for 2017 is that mid-market private fund managers are going to have to pay much more attention to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues.

Let me explain why. For one, ESG is a trend with a ton of inertia behind it. These types of things tend to start at the top of the market, where resources and specialists are in plentiful supply, and work their way down. KKR for instance publishes a detailed ESG report annually, and has a section on its website dedicated to responsible investment. You would be hard pressed to find anything similar at a firm managing south of $1 billion, but it’s becoming a point of conversation in mid-market circles. In fact, a new PwC study found that more than two-thirds (70 percent) of managers have now made a public commitment to investing responsibly. In 2013, the comparative figure was 57 percent. But elevating responsible investment from a do-good side show into a core element of your firm culture means putting action behind those words.

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Three (Very Basic) Things Private Equity Firms Should Do More to Win Deals in 2017

Financial Services Cloud Helps Win DealsA new Deloitte survey found that three out of four M&A professionals expect deal activity to continue rebounding into 2017. But this optimism comes with a caveat for private equity firms: the pressure is on to strike good deals. 

That’s partly because corporate strategics have the benefit of sitting on the sidelines without having to answer to impatient stakeholders, partly because money continues flowing into the sector at such a rate that we’re calling it private equity’s greatest test yet to come, and partly because investors still expect private equity shops to deliver outsized returns.

In fact, a Coller Capital LP survey found that 77 percent of investors plan to make US mid-market funds their main focus in 2017; and about the same expect private equity bets to deliver 11 percent annual returns in the medium-term. Yet that same survey found 64 percent of investors fear “too much money [is] pursuing too few attractive opportunities”. So investors seem to be aware of their own herd mentality, but trust the private equity sector enough to continue delivering satisfying returns during this anticipated M&A uptick.

Can private equity deliver? That depends on a number of factors, but private equity firms must fully leverage their core strengths of relationship building and due diligence if they want to win the best deals. Not every firm accomplishes this. Or at least isn’t accomplishing this to a sufficient enough degree. Below, we list three of those under-leveraged deal strategies.

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In 2017, Private Equity Faces its Greatest Test Yet

Navatar Helps Private Equity Professionals Win DelasIf you factor in co-investments, separate accounts and direct investments – three channels investors are increasingly using to pump money into the private equity sector – 2017 is shaping up to be a record year for the asset class. The industry is on pace to raise a wallet-busting $691 billion in commitments this year, about 10 percent more than the previous high mark. That’s on top of an estimated $1 trillion in dry powder already waiting to be deployed.

All this capital raising is good news, right? Maybe, because at the same time that cash is flooding into the sector private equity deals are getting smaller. Deals under the $25 million mark accounted for nearly half of activity thus far in 2016, representing the highest proportion since 2009. Observers chalk this up to a number of reasons, including rich stock prices and increased regulatory scrutiny, but our guess is that private equity firms are seeing better opportunity for returns at the smaller end of the market, where greater growth and operational wins are to be had.

Which takes us to a bigger point: it’s getting tougher these days for private equity firms to source the types of deals they want. The problem is that flood of capital chasing smaller deals combined with more competition. During the 15-year period from 2000 to 2014, the number of active private equity firms globally exploded 143 percent to 3,530. Intensifying competition further is a migration of large buyout shops moving down market in search of yield amid today’s low interest rate environment, and other kinds of entities with access to cheap debt, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds with direct investment capabilities, entering the field.

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Vishal Sikka Says Trump, Not Cloud, Will Hurt Infosys Margins

Indian IT Industry - Donald Trump

Infosys is bracing for pressure on its U.S. business from anti-immigrant policies by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, according to a recent article.

“Margins might be impacted in the near-term,” Chief Executive Vishal Sikka said, adding the company had not yet done any simulations on how large the impact may turn out to be.

Infosys’ contingency plan for the case that the group would not be able to send low-cost developers to work with temporary work visas on big tech projects in the United States would be to hire staff locally, he said, while also conceding that hiring people in the United States would likely be more expensive.

Infosys last month cut its annual revenue growth target for the second time in three months as India’s software service exporters feel the pinch of major Western clients holding back on spending. Continue Reading →

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The Trump Effect: Questions Swirl on Private Equity Broker Dealer Registration

Private Equity Feel Regulatory Uncertainty Because of Trump Trump is in. The SEC’s Mary Jo White is on her way out. And amidst the power transitions in Washington are private equity firms, who still face the unsettling question of whether to register as broker-dealers.

On that last point, Navatar sought answers, gathering four of the brightest legal minds on broker-dealer registration as part of a roundtable designed to provide private equity firms some regulatory certainty. The issue exploded to the forefront in June when the SEC charged Blackstreet Capital, a private equity firm, for acting as an unregistered broker. The thinking is that because private equity shops routinely solicit investors, charge transaction fees or provide investment bank-like services, and oftentimes collect fees for those services, they should register. But private equity managers, who transact maybe once a quarter, certainly don’t look and feel like your everyday broker. So many choose not to register and avoid all the compliance hassle that comes with it. In light of Blackstreet, is that a mistake?

Our roundtable, reading the tea leaves stirred by Blackstreet, at times suggested that registration was an inevitable reality.

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Why Harris Williams Predicts Corporate Development to Lose M&A Deals to Private Equity

Navatar Helps Corporate Strategics Sign M&A Deals Over Private Equity

A new study from boutique investment bank Harris Williams should alarm corporate development groups. The survey of 500 middle-market executives discovered a 38 percent jump this year from last in the number of respondents who named private equity firms as their preferred acquirer. Even more worrying for strategic buyers is the risk of losing bite out of a growing M&A pie: a whopping 95 percent of companies surveyed are open to striking a deal over the next three years, up from about 81 percent last year.

What explains the shift to private equity buyers? After all, it’s strategics who can lure sellers with sector expertise and promises of synergy. We posed that very question to Masco Corporation’s Eli Slack, a corporate buyer, and ButcherJoseph banker David Lake, to gain some much-needed answers.

What we concluded is that private equity firms are gaining an edge by leveraging their own core strengths of relationship building, financial discipline and diligence. The good news for strategics is such strengths can be replicated. But it may require a shift in thinking.

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The SEC Answers Five Lingering Questions On Private Equity Exams

CCOs Use Navatar To Help With Business Continuity Planning

Even four years on from Dodd-Frank pushing most of the industry under the SEC’s spotlight in 2012, private fund managers still have plenty of questions about what it takes to clear the exam process. The SEC has developed a deeper understanding of the industry’s workings, leading to more nuanced, targeted exams.

So in light of clients’ compliance challenges, Navatar teamed up with the Association for Corporate Growth, a mid-market trade body that helps private fund managers monitor emerging regulatory issues, and took the conversation to a SEC funds examiner for more perspective as part of a roundtable discussion.

Watch and read transcript: “The SEC Staff Answers Your Burning Questions on Examinations.”

Five of our clients’ exam-related questions stood out to us in particular. Below, we paraphrase responses from Maryellen Maurer, a SEC funds examiner:

1. Can a CCO wear multiple hats?

Large firms have the resources to hire dedicated compliance chiefs. That’s less true for smaller outfits, who often double the CFO as CCO. Is that a problem? No, so long as the person juggling multiple roles can handle it. But often dual hatted CCOs spend less than 50 percent of their time on compliance, Maryellen warned during the roundtable. That can lead to problems if the CCO only pays lip service to compliance. Maryellen said these CCOs can discuss in detail trading rules, a familiar area for CFOs, but struggle to apply the same specificity to other compliance areas. Meanwhile CCOs that understand all the firm’s processes, and don’t need to schedule many meeting to answer follow-up questions, provide examiners assurance.

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Business Continuity Planning – The SEC’s Next Private Funds Focus Area?


SEC Targets Private Equity Firms for Business Continuity Planning

It remains to be seen, but speculation is building in the private funds industry that business continuity planning is the SEC’s next exam focus area.

As a financial services industry cloud provider, Navatar takes the topic of business continuity planning seriously. On Wednesday, September 21st (11:00am EST), we will touch upon business continuity, cybersecurity, valuation and fee disclosures with a SEC examiner as part of a wider discussion on private equity exams, which clients tell us are becoming tougher as the years go on.

Register for the Virtual Roundtable: The SEC Staff Answers Your Burning Questions on Examinations

The commission took a strong interest in business continuity planning after Hurricane Sandy exposed Wall Street’s vulnerability to major natural disasters in 2013. That concern never really went away, but a recent two-year sweep of the industry shifted regulators’ focus towards bigger concerns like fee disclosures and conflicts of interest. Fees no doubt will remain an exam priority, but with that sweep over, and a general outcome of improved disclosures, it appears that business continuity planning is back on the table.

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Upcoming Webinar: What Outsiders Don’t Get About European M&A Deal Flow

Ulrich Schneider Says Deal Due Diligence Works in Europe M&A

From the outside looking in, Europe is a scary place – especially so for cross border M&A professionals who place a premium on political and economic certainty. Italy urgently needs a big, bold bank clean-up. Pessimists fear Brexit will fracture Europe’s financial industry. The EU’s talks with Greece over its third bail-out are going poorly. And just this week, a German official said that negotiations on the TTIP, an ambitious free trade deal between America and the EU, had essentially failed.

But where others see risk, buyers should see opportunity. That was the message Navatar recently heard from Ulrich Schneider, a M&A banker who has a unique vantage point of the European landscape as a Hamburg-based partner at Proventis Partners and cross-border specialist. The way Ulrich sees it, people’s perceptions of European M&A fall into two camps: outsiders and insiders.

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Improve Deal Flow: How Private Equity Firms Should Share Their ‘Sweet Spot’ With Sellers

Deal Sourcing Improved by Sharing Investment Criteria with Sellers

(From left to right) David Mahmood, Chairman & Founder, Allegiance Capital Corporation; Bruce Cameron, Chief Executive, Berkshire Capital; Ulrich Schneider, Partner, Proventis Partners; Tim Page, Managing Director, Whitehall; Martin Stein, Managing Director & Founder, Blackford Capital

Buyers want quality deal flow, but too often sellers don’t have a good sense of their investment criteria.

In fact, these days “private equity firms all sound alike in what they are looking for,” said Allegiance Capital chairman David Mahmood, during a recent Navatar roundtable on “Why Buyers Must Redefine Their Intermediary Deal Sourcing Strategy.”

Given that boutique intermediaries control access to a majority of transactions in today’s deal market, buyers need to build relationships with a large number of boutiques. At a minimum, they have to make sure all these intermediaries know about their current investment strategy, so that bankers and others can channel the right investment opportunities to them.

Here are some of the approaches that buyers commonly use:

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Private Equity Fundraising: Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Working With Placement Agents

Private Equity Fundraising Software on Salesforce

Panelists for Roundtable: “What Every Alternative Asset Manager Should Know About Working with Placement Agents.”

They walk the fundraising trail hand in hand. They may have known each other for years. And they rely on each other for continued success. Nonetheless, there are a few things about placement agents that alternative asset managers may not be aware.

Following the popularity of our best practices guide on hiring a placement agent,  Navatar hosted a roundtable last week featuring a group of placement specialists and an in-house investor relations director to discuss “What Every Alternative Asset Manager Should Know About Working With Placement Agents.” Seven things emerged from the conversation that may surprise GPs.

1. Agents think your fundraising schedule is too optimistic

GPs took an average of 17 months to close a fund in 2015, according to data provider Preqin. Fund managers hear that number and anchor their own fundraising timelines around it. Like drivers, the majority also believe they are above average and so expect to beat it. But the mean is the wrong starting point, our placement agent panelists argued. Larger funds that LPs tend to clamor for are believed to be weighted more heavily in the mean. GPs may also have their fundraising perceptions skewed by the trade press, which is more likely to cover lightening quick fundraises then they are the more common two year slog.

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Four Simple Tips for Private Equity Managers to Calculate Digital Marketing ‘ROI’

CapX Partners Eric Starr Uses Navatar for Private Equity Marketing Finance folk are known for their financial modelling prowess and ability to forecast returns. But private equity and other fund managers have not always taken that strength and applied it to their marketing efforts.

That is a mistake. But fortunately an easily fixable one.

Recently, CapX Partners’ Eric Starr (see pic) delivered for us a convincing presentation on the power of newly available marketing techniques born out of today’s technology. In the webinar, “Moving Beyond Coffee: Unlock Deal Flow with Digital Marketing,” Eric made a powerful case for the marketing value of content-rich websites (including using blogs), a conscious SEO strategy and targeted e-marketing campaigns. Equally important, though, is the ability to measure the impact of these efforts.

“Otherwise how do you know that it’s all worth it?” Eric rhetorically asked his audience.

GPs that can calculate the “ROI” of newly implemented digital marketing efforts can set clearer performance targets for deal origination staff, monitor the effectiveness of one strategy over another, and present hard numbers when convincing leaders at the firm of its value during budgeting time. And it doesn’t take all that much effort either. During the webcast, Eric provided a few basic pointers to get started:

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Three Reasons Why LPs Are Finally Playing Catch-Up to Tech-Savvy Asset Managers

Cloud Computing Gives LPs Faster Technology for Better Portfolio Monitoring









It didn’t make headlines, but the news is a major development in the alternatives sector nonetheless. A large majority (83 percent) of limited partners (LPs) have either recently upgraded, or are planning to upgrade, their back office monitoring technology, according to a recent Coller Capital survey of LPs.

That type of stark departure from the status quo warrants some explanation.

For different reasons, LPs have been slower than GPs to embrace new technology. Public pensions are hesitant to spend tax payer dollars on new systems while smaller investors such as family offices and endowments tend to have less room in the budget for tech upgrades, even if it means savings in the long-run. As capital providers, LPs are also under less pressure than GPs to reap efficiency gains and savings from new technology in order to remain competitive.

So what’s changed? Three key trends explain the situation:

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Webinar: Moving Beyond Coffee – Unlock Deal Flow with Digital Marketing

Blogging as Part of Digital Marketing Leads to Proprietary Deal Flow

Do you blog? If you’re a private funds manager, the answer is probably no. But that may be a mistake.

On Tuesday, CapX Partners’ Eric Starr delivered for us a powerful presentation on the value of digital marketing. Eric hammered home the point that GPs must embrace SEO, mass email campaigns and slick websites or risk losing deal flow. Navatar Private Equity, for instance, was mentioned as his central platform to monitor the success of e-marketing campaigns and then manage communication touchpoints after converting leads.

This upcoming Tuesday, Eric is providing a second opportunity to learn how fund managers can fully leverage the value of digital marketing. You can register here.

But even though more and more investment firms are cementing digital marketing strategies as part of their deal origination efforts, the lowly blog is receiving less love. The webinar will urge managers to view content as the foundation of their digital marketing efforts, with blogs as one crucial layer of that marketing bedrock. As a teaser, allow us to provide three reasons why in advance of the show:

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Amid Performance Woes, the Hedge Fund Industry Wisely Turns to Investor Relations

Financial CRM May Help Hedge Fund Managers with Investor Relations and Fund Performance

The hedge fund industry is facing something of an identity crisis at the moment. Slumping performance figures and investor revolt against the standard “2 and 20” fee model is forcing a shakeout: 291 hedge funds shuttered in the first quarter of 2016, offset by only 206 new funds started up, according to fresh data from Hedge Fund Research. Last year saw the most closures since 2009.

Survivors of the fallout are asked to slash costs and explain again how they outperform the market net of fees. Over the past five years, hedge funds provided investors a measly 1.7 percent return, according to the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index. Had that money been invested in the S&P 500 instead, the average annualized return would have been 11 percent.

If things don’t improve, expect more hedge fund outfits to struggle during fundraising. Already the $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), seen as both a bellwether and pacesetter for other institutional investors, has left the sector. Other big-name investors, including MetLife, American International Group and the New York City pension plan are reportedly set to do the same.

Which makes the timing of a new release from the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) so important. Last week, the hedge fund trade body published an investor relations best practices manual that touches on everything from pre-meeting planning to on-boarding procedures to crisis management. The guidelines are only being made available to AIMA members, but a scan of its executive summary hints at just how much thought and effort went behind its creation.  Continue Reading →

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Three Basic Mistakes That Can Derail Cloud Software Adoption

Cloud Computing Best Practices for Salesforce for Financial Services Industry

The great news for customers of a Software-as-a Service (SaaS) product is that the vendor is incentivized for your success, since you pay as you go. A good SaaS provider backs their product with a solid customer success program to make sure their customers use the product. That doesn’t mean customers will always be able to successfully use the product. Sometimes, lack of enthusiasm from the customers’ side can become a stubborn barrier to adoption.

I manage the Success Team at Navatar and I can proudly say that 95% of our clients are successfully on-boarded to our cloud platform. We see some common themes across the ones that don’t. Here are some of them:

1. Lack of leadership buy-in:

Change is difficult. If senior leadership is fully behind the rollout, they can generally push through the message to the entire team. We have seen scenarios in which adoption never occurred as it was not mandated. Most people continued to do their day-to-day tasks as a new product meant additional workload.

If senior leadership shows interest in the new product, everyone pays attention. It really works when management can set usage targets for employees. I have also seen quite a few of our customers give out usage awards, based on employee activity in the new system. The goal is for employees to recognize that the rollout is important to management.

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The Easily Avoidable Mistake That Private Equity Managers Break When Engaging M&A Advisors

How to Improve Private Equity Deal Sourcing

You would be forgiven for believing that most private equity deals are sourced independently given the amount of time fund managers spend describing their “proprietary deal flow”, a persistent industry catchphrase. In fact, it is intermediaries that are the biggest deal flow spigot. That’s truer now than ever – a trend not lost on investors, who now pepper managers with questions about their relationships with investment bankers and brokers during marketing meetings. Managers not very good at engaging intermediaries not only risk losing out on prize deals, but increasingly so capital commitments too.

So how can managers improve their outreach and relationship with M&A bankers?

It’s a question we posed to four of the best intermediaries in the field as part of a wider roundtable on deal sourcing strategies, a conversation co-moderated by Blackford Capital’s Martin Stein, who provided the conversation crucial buy-side perspective.

One key lesson emerging from the roundtable discussion is the importance of being responsive.   Continue Reading →

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Investor Relations Becomes the X-Factor in Alternative Assets Fundraising

Private Equity CRM. Hedge Fund CRM.Alternative asset managers have seen their ranks explode over the last several years, due to a perfect storm of low interest rates, strong corporate growth and increased bank regulation.  The number of active private equity firms has spiked 143 percent, while the number of active VC firms has rocketed  173 percent in the last 15 years. Due to all of this competition, differentiation has never been more important.

The best performing fund managers, surprisingly, are not the best fundraisers. According to Chestnut Advisory Group, good communicators outperform top investment performers by a ratio of 4-to-1 when it comes to raising new capital. The ability to differentiate and effectively convey your message to the right investors has become extremely critical to fundraising success.

Jane Morris, managing director with the private placement firm Liora Partners sums up the current state of private equity fundraising: “Fund raising is not a short term activity; it’s an ongoing, never ending process.  You are either actively seeking new investors, pitch book in hand, or you are laying the groundwork for your next fund raise.”

To effectively establish your brand with investors it’s important to maintain a highly focused, tailored strategy that connects with their investment goals.  This isn’t rocket science. Most fund managers already know what they need to do. The challenge typically is in the execution;  fund managers aren’t necessarily the best marketers.

In our work providing investor relations technology to hundreds of alternative assets firms, we have seen some common themes emerge.

Establishing Investor Relationships

Fund raising is not one size fits all. Funds need to identify their target investor population and understand investment profiles.  Their investment size, industry/area of focus, risk appetite, past investments, communication preferences, etc., are all critical. The information enables IR professionals to develop a very clear profile of what kinds of opportunities will resonate with different groups of investors for communication targeting. Continue Reading →

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Eight Questions That Alternative Asset Fund Managers Must Ask Before Hiring a Placement Agent

Placement agents are in vogue.  There are tens of thousands of money managers and alternative asset fund managers that are totally dependent on them. In 2015, more than 50% of private equity funds that closed used a placement agent, according to Preqin.

It isn’t hard to understand why. Fundraising requires an intense focus over 17-18 months, not to mention specialization, relationships and physical proximity. A fund manager devoting more time to the fundraising process has less time to focus on implementing the fund’s investment strategy.  Furthermore, placement agents have a much broader reach and more up-to-date investor knowledge than most managers could achieve without a large internal marketing/sales team.

What Private Equity & Real Estate Funds Should Look For in a Placement Agent

Placements agents range from specialized divisions of large brokerage firms to small and midsized independent firms. The larger firms work on six to ten fundraising mandates per year. Therefore, they prefer to undertake mandates that represent the ‘low hanging fruit’—a fund that’s easily marketable. Others are specialized based on certain asset classes, investor type, offerings, or geography.

To be successful, placement agents must leverage the intelligence from their previous mandates and track institutional investors and their investment preferences. Most of them use Navatar to manage multiple mandates and stay on top of investor activity.

We spoke to some of our placement agent customers to get their perspective on what it takes for a placement agent to succeed when working on a mandate.

Download this free eBook, “Eight Questions That Alternative Asset Fund Managers Must Ask Before Hiring a Placement Agent,” for the insights gained from these conversations.

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How Cascade Financial Advisors Became a Leader in Client Service Using RIA Cloud Technology

Salesforce for Financial Advisors and Wealth Management RIAToday’s ever more tech-centric world is changing the game for both clients and wealth managers. And client service is one of the key areas where the battle for a client’s wallet and mindshare is being waged.

“For us, client service and advisor service processes are really the most important and the most complex pieces of what we do on a day-to-day basis,” says John Van Sant, President, Cascade. “It’s also obviously one of the most time sensitive parts of our business as well, and a huge part of our value proposition.”

When Cascade, a boutique wealth management firm managing around half a billion, recognized that they wanted to differentiate by providing a better level of service to their clients, they decided to focus on accuracy, not efficiency.  John led the charge, with the goal  for a more consistent client and advisor experience.

“Like most small mid-size firms that are in the industry, we have five key functional areas- marketing, business development, investment management, client service and advisory service.  Like most medium-sized businesses, we’re obviously limited on resources when it comes to personnel versus some of the larger firms.  So in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency most firms like us must have a fully integrated turnkey platform that integrates all of the different functional areas,” according to John.

Cascade picked Navatar One for Salesforce, as the hub for the turnkey platform, to help create connect all the functions.

The results? John Van Sant describes how Cascade built a model with consistent processes, as well as showcases exactly how key functions such client onboarding, service requests, client meetings etc, must function for an advisory firm, in this recorded webinar video.

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Upcoming Webinar: Don’t Lose the Deal – Proprietary Psychology is Different

In a forthcoming Webinar, the Exit, LLC Team  warns “Don’t Lose the Deal – Proprietary Psychology is Different.”  Exit, LLC is speaking to 800-900 founder owned businesses a month and is focused on finding new opportunities for their strategic buyers and private equity firms.

Their first tip is that you talk dramatically differently to a business owner than you would to an M&A firm.  Sure, you are eager to get answers but watch out, if the conversation starts sounding like an interrogation, you could irate your target and lose the deal.

Some of the things you will hear in the webinar are how to make the right first impression and how to figure out the best time to approach your target company.  They also have a lot to say about creating an origination strategy with the discipline and metrics you need to build a large pipeline and gaining more high quality opportunities.  The webinar is free and you can register for either session:

March 29, 2016, 10:00 am EST  - RSVP TODAY >>

March 31, 2016,  2:00 pm EST  - RSVP TODAY >>


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Johnsons Corporate Goes High Tech to Target 1000+ Buyers And Close M&A Deals in 5-8 Months

Mergers & Acquisitions Software

The Johnsons Corporate team pioneered the Six Stage Sales process that helps them systematically cast a wider net when seeking buyers for businesses. Thanks to their adoption of sophisticated M&A technology, Johnsons Corporate is well positioned to be a leader in Australian mid-market M&A, widening their targeting ability to more than 1000 buyers and closing each deal within 5-8 months.

When it comes to selling mid-market businesses, Johnsons Corporate doesn’t believe in taking shortcuts. The Johnsons Corporate Six Stage Sale Process, developed and refined for over 50 years, is based on the conviction that the sale and acquisition of mid-market businesses warrants a systematic approach to cast the net over a broader pool of prospects in more commercial and geographic markets than others would even contemplate.

In practical terms, the Johnsons approach translates into custom marketing campaigns to 500 to 1000 targets (as opposed to 30-40 targets that most corporate advisory firms work with), and it’s central to how they have been able to create a unique position in the Australian mid-market M&A marketspace. Continue Reading →

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The Future of The IT Bubble And CIO In The Age Of Cloud And Mobile

Salesforce for Financial ServicesThere’s something wrong with IT.

Most business people  are frustrated because IT can’t even understand their issues, let alone solve them.

“IT organizations somehow forget that people come before technology,” says Jonathan Feldman. “Like a raging infection in the corporate body, IT is continually at war.”  Feldman, a CIO himself, believes there’s something wrong with any department that seems to have a male dominance. It suggests an elitism, an anti-collaborative stance.

IT has long been tolerated as a costly but necessary line item, but that may be changing. Businesses are under pressure to deliver results and they have little patience for drama. They want IT to get its act together.

Is this possible?

No, says Feldman. “As with a dysfunctional relationship that needs to end before something really bad happens, I have a proposal: End it. It’s not working, folks. It’s super-dysfunctional, and we all know it.” Continue Reading →

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Multitenancy – The Odd Sounding Cloud Tech Term that Changes Everything for Financial Services Firms

Private Equity CRM

“Think of an ice breaker ship ploughing through frozen seas and that will give you some idea of what multitenancy is doing to the old IT model,” says Navatar CTO Rexlo Joe, who Salesforce recently featured as a success story.

Multitenancy is a architectural design in cloud systems, which allows the vendor to share resources between clients. It allows the vendor to eliminate mundane, repetitive tasks and focus their time instead on adding new features.

Not all cloud products are multitenant, though. A legacy vendor with an on-premise product never invests in multitenancy since that involves developing a completely new product and a new business model. It is much easier for them to turn their legacy system into a single-tenant product (each customer is hosted separately).

“If you’re not buying a multitenant product, you’re buying a product that will be frozen in time, while your competitors will always have the latest technology,” says Joe. Continue Reading →

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Public Cloud Provides Most Data Security For Financial Services Firms

Salesforce for Financial Services, Financial Services Cloud

Corporate IT continues to argue that public cloud security cannot be trusted. They believe, mistakenly, that they can keep data more secure than the public cloud.

“We live in a world where data center breaches are in the headlines almost monthly, much to the consternation of corporate IT — the same corporate IT that fears the public cloud due to fears around data security. The truth is that the public cloud is more secure than the typical data center, and IT would get better security if it got past its prejudice against the cloud,” says David Linthicum, in his recent article.

Look at the recent hackings of Ashley Madison, Hilton and plenty of others. I’m sure they all deployed IT security specialists and spent a lot in managing security. But it wasn’t enough.

Because IT manages its own data resources, it believes it’s doing a better job than other people might, says Linthicum — especially those people at those cloud services where security practices are opaque. But it’s simply not true. Cloud providers have better security mechanisms in place and are more paranoid — and attentive — to security risks throughout their entire stack. Continue Reading →

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