NES Financial would like to introduce our newest Vice President of Business Development, Jeff Drinkwater. Jeff has been on the institutional side of the financial services industry for over 20 years. He has consistently helped institutional clients outsource non-core business functions so that their firms can focus on doing what they do best. Jeff started out at Schwab Institutional, helping registered investment advisors become more efficient with their back-office operations by leveraging Schwab Institutional’s custody platform. Jeff then transitioned into the fund administration space, where he has helped firms over the last 12 years with outsourcing back and middle office services for hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity firms at some of the largest players in the industry, such as Fortis, Bank of NY, and JP Morgan.
NES Financial: Welcome to the team Jeff! Tell me a little bit more about your background.
Jeff: I have been on the institutional sales side of the financial industry for over 20 years and have really specialized in operational outsourcing in one form or another. One area, in particular, that I have been focused on over the last 10 years has been fund administration. I was working at a Dutch firm called Fortis when the Madoff scandal hit. I saw firsthand what can happen when firms do not outsource certain functions that can be rife with fraud and abuse. So most of my skillset is based on finding ways a firm can be more efficient, while also enhancing their transparency and ability to stay compliant so that both the investors and the firm itself are safer.
NES Financial: What made you want to join NES Financial?
Jeff: The biggest factor was that this was a high-energy firm, part technology and part financial services, that could adapt and be flexible for its clients. By being headquartered in Silicon Valley, the DNA of the firm was very forward thinking in how they leveraged technology and the flexibility with which they could adapt and make changes to their platform. After working at some of the largest banks in the world, I saw that these large banks could not be as nimble as a smaller firm with best in class technology could. I have viewed firsthand the difference – it’s like trying to change direction of an aircraft carrier versus an F-16.
NES Financial: From a fund administration perspective, what did you like most about NES Financial’s services?
Jeff: The technology we have in place is by far the best I have seen within the fund administration space. Since everything was built specifically from the ground up for EB-5, it is differentiated and makes the lives of Regional Centers, issuers, and developers so much easier. Human error is always one of the biggest risks at a firm, and the EB-5 industry is no different, maybe even more so than other industries. There is so much detailed paper tracking and following the specific flow of the investors’ funds that it’s critical to have a process in place that automates this as much as possible. NES Financial is able to do that in a very cost effective manner.
NES Financial: What is the main difference you see between traditional fund administration and fund administration within the EB-5 world?
Jeff: In traditional fund administration, the end goal is to maximize the financial rate of return. With EB-5 fund administration, the investor is primarily focused on receiving his/her green card, along with permanent residency for his/her family. The great thing about the NES Financial solution is that it has been built with these unique characteristics in mind. I believe that those who embrace the NES Financial solution are increasing the likelihood of immigration success for their investors.
NES Financial: How is everything going so far?
Jeff: It’s really exciting to be at a firm as innovative as NES Financial. The company has established a clear market leadership position in EB-5 and is continuing to grow rapidly. The EB-5 client base they have established is made up of great people doing important things. These clients are developing exciting projects that create U.S. jobs and help make dreams come true for foreign investors. Going forward I am excited about the potential of the company. The core fund administration platform has unique advantages when compared to the legacy solutions used in the broader alternative fund administration marketplace. I am excited to be part of the team and to help drive the company’s ongoing expansion.
NES Financial: Thank you Jeff, and once again welcome!
Jeff: Thank you!