Making It Work: Centaur intending to build on success after Waystone acquisition

The Dublin-based global fund administration and fiduciary services provider is eyeing an ongoing global expansion after being snapped up by the international giant

Karen Malone, founding partner of Centaur Fund Service: the company works with fund managers all over the world, keeping track of how their investments are performing and making sure they are meeting their regulatory requirements. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Centaur, the global fund administration and fiduciary services provider, is aiming to continue its expansion around the world after being acquired last month by Waystone, an internationally recognised financial services company.

Founded in 2009, Centaur today works with fund managers all over the world, keeping track of how their investments are performing and making sure they are meeting their regulatory requirements.

The Enterprise Ireland-backed business is headquartered in Dublin, but now employs more than 220 staff across nine locations, including Bermuda, New York, London, Luxembourg and Canada. It services more than 120 different client groups who manage in excess of $200 billion.

Last month Waystone, which supports asset managers with more than $1 trillion in assets under management, announced that subject to regulatory approval, it would acquire Centaur in a move it said would “significantly broaden” its service offering to asset managers and their investors.

“Waystone operates in the financial services space, but they don’t provide administration services,” Karen Malone, Centaur’s co-founder, told the Business Post. “So they had a gap, and they sought us out to fill that gap.

“The exciting part for us, and our clients, is we’ve now become their administration arm. We’ll continue to run our own business as we have done, but as part of that expanded group, both our clients and theirs will benefit.”

Centaur was established by Malone, Ronan Daly and Eric Bertrand, who decided to set up the business while working at Citi Hedge Fund Services in the mid-2000s. Despite the global economic downturn, they could see a gap in the market for fund administrators and they decided to seize the opportunity.

“We took a massive leap of faith, when you think that 2009 was one of the most volatile periods economically,” Malone said. “People thought we were mad.”

Despite the turbulence, Centaur quickly became known as one of the most competent fund administrators in the world. The firm has consistently achieved double-digit growth over the last 12 years and expects that trend to continue.

“We’ve never lost a client, which in the services business is quite unique,” Malone said. “We never set out to be – and probably don’t even want to be known as – the biggest fund administrator. But we certainly want to keep our reputation as the best.”

Centaur’s competitors are mostly global banks, Malone said. “We punch way above our weight, when you look at the size of the company.

“We have 220 or so people, where the companies we face off against could have tens of thousands. So we do really well to compete.”

For Centaur, being acquired by Waystone will offer more marketing and sales opportunities and more institutional significance. “We’ve become part of a bigger unit, so there’ll be more in the way of support services, which is great,” Malone said.

In the coming months, Malone said, Centaur is targeting significant growth in several of the markets it operates in. “Ireland would be very mature, as the headquarters of the business, but there are other, newer locations that are at an early stage.

“There are a couple of locations where we’re very new, and we want to invest in the people there to grow those teams out.”