Making it Work

Carne Group planning further acquisitions and new hires

Carne is aiming to become the leading technologically driven platform for the asset management industry

Yvonne Connolly, Ireland country head, Carne Group: ‘We’re going to grow organically, but by acquisition as well.’ Picture: Fergal Phillips

Carne Group, the financial services business, is targeting further acquisitions in the coming years after adding hundreds of new staff since the pandemic, according to the chief executive of its Irish unit.

Yvonne Connolly, who has headed up Carne’s Irish operations since 2017, said the company was planning further acquisitions and new hires, as well as an increased focus on organic growth, in the coming years.

“Our growth is going to be based very much around innovation – providing better and better services for our clients,” Connolly said. “We’re going to grow organically, but by acquisition as well.”

Carne, which provides back-end technology solutions to the global funds industry, is aiming to become the leading technologically driven platform for the asset management industry, which is the second biggest sector globally after banking, with about $120 trillion worth of assets.

The company, founded in 2004 by John Donohoe, is involved in managing the governance, compliance and regulatory requirements of hundreds of the world's leading asset managers and institutional investors. It has more than $2 trillion of assets under management through Curator, its digital platform.

Curator can run due diligence, oversight, risk and reporting from one place, offering “workflow like a Swiss watch” which can save clients both money and time. Using data analysis, it gives fund managers an overview of their portfolios.

Carne believes the product will not only propel its own expansion, but also help digitise an industry that has been slow to fully embrace technology. “Even though this is such a huge industry, it is quite behind in terms of digitisation when you compare it to other sectors,” Connolly said.

“If you look at what Facebook and Google have done for the advertising industry, asset management is really far behind. For decades, we’ve relied on spreadsheets and different sources of information to make decisions, and that’s never optimal. And that’s really where Carne saw a major opportunity in the industry.”

The Enterprise Ireland-backed group now employs 640 employees at 11 offices around the world, having enjoyed significant growth since the pandemic. “When we went into lockdown, we were probably about 250 people,” Connolly said. “Since then, we’ve invested hugely in people, and in developing our technology.”

In 2021, Vitruvian, a British private equity firm, invested €100 million in Carne in a deal that valued the Irish business at about €400 million.

Since then, Carne has acquired Distributor Due Diligence, which trades as 3D, as well as the Asset Management Exchange (AMX), an institutional investment platform owned by WTW, formerly Willis Towers Watson. That deal made WTW an investor in the Irish business and added more than 130 new people to Carne’s operations, including dozens in Ireland.

“We have 600 clients, and we work with most of the largest asset managers in the world,” Connolly said. “And if we don’t work with them now, we’ve worked with them at some stage along the way.

“We are the largest provider of management company services, but our ambition is to be the leading digitally driven platform for the asset management industry.”

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland