Frequently Asked Questions
This is a short list of our most frequently asked questions. For more information about CommonWealth, or should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Launching or transferring funds to CommonWealth
In the past four years, CommonWealth has completed successful fund conversions with 16 managers and their 48 funds, representing $3.6 billion combined AUM and thousands of investors. Through our experience we have developed robust processes allowing us to help make the fund transfer as accurate, seamless, and quick as possible.
Our investor services team will work directly with the funds’ current share-registry record keepers to ensure a flawless migration on investor data (historical information, investor profile details) to avoid any disruptions on relevant investor reporting. Once migrated, our investor services team will work directly with the funds’ managers to ensure a smooth go forward on all investor reporting items.
Our fund accounting team will work directly with the funds’ current administrator with regards to the data transition and ensure that all relevant historical information is migrated appropriately to avoid any disruptions on relevant upcoming financial reporting periods. During the conversion, we will ensure the funds are set up according their legal documents. Once migrated, our fund accounting team will work directly with the funds’ managers to ensure a smooth go forward basis on all operational aspects of the NAV calculations.
The timing to launch a new fund depends whether it is on FundSERV or not. If it is on FundSERV, the timing is generally 2 months, while it can take 1 month if not on FundSERV. Fund conversions typically require at least 3 months’ notice.
We have three teams: Fund Accounting, Investor Services, and Financial Reporting, which is different than the typical fund administrators’ model who subcategorize fund accounting and investor services by sub-groups such as pricing, corporate actions, etc.
The fund accountant will handle all elements of fund accounting, just like the investor services associate handles all aspects of investor services, and as a result will develop a complete understanding of the requirements of the fund, serving as a single point of contact for questions pertaining to the operations. As mentioned above, they will be dedicated to the account so that you interact with the same team members day after day. Cross training is ensured in case of staff changes, which at CommonWealth is historically rare.
Tax, audit, and financial reporting are supported by the assigned operations team, while the lead is taken by our financial reporting team, which produces work for multiple clients.
All members of the fund administration team have at least three years’ experience, since our hiring practice is to seek top talent with existing industry experience
Each of our clients have a dedicated relationship management and operations team, which consist of a relationship manager, a lead fund accountant, a supporting fund accountant, a fund accounting manager, a lead investor services associate, and an investor services manager.
The relationship manager will serve as a point of escalation and quarterback periodic calls to discuss strategic updates and new initiatives. The lead fund accountant will be responsible for the end-to-end production of the NAVs, while the fund accounting manager will review the NAV package before final sign off as well as ensure appropriate training for the lead fund accountant and other members of the fund accounting team. The lead investor services associate will be responsible for the end-to-end, day-to-day shareholder recordkeeping and transfer agency processes, while the investor services manager will be responsible for reviewing their work and conducting cross training to other members of the investor services team.
Typically, clients will have a standing call or meeting on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis with the relationship manager and operations team, involving other involved team members (such as tax and financial reporting) at select times of the year.
Our business continuity plan, which is tested annually and maintained by an outsourced IT provider, is available upon request. Given that our server is offsite and backed up to a second location, there is never a time that you shouldn’t be able to access our services, even in the case of a disaster event affecting our office. All employees have the ability to remotely access the server via a laptop from home.
All data is sensitive, valuable and critical. We follow a stringent Cybersecurity policy to ensure that our systems are secure, and confidential information remains protected. We back-up and replicate data on a regular basis to ensure that no data is lost. All of our computers have anti-virus software installed (which is also monitored and up-to-date). Moreover, all of our systems are password and key protected. Security is always top of mind.
Yes our system is integrated with Fundserv through a conduit technology supplied by a partner.
CommonWealth is proud to utilize a third-party accounting and administration application system running nearly $400B worldwide. The processes integrated into the system include the securities portfolio, allocation system, general ledger, fee calculation, and share registry.
Some of the features:
- Security pricing and mark-to-market is performed via an interface with three major price source vendors
- Shareholder Registry module supporting complex structures such as multi-series structures, equalization, partnerships and private equity
- Performance fees can be calculated considering High Water Marks, Equalization, Hurdles, Series Consolidations / Roll-Up and other factors
- Powerful allocation functionality including multi-currency series/class accounting with the ability to define the currency of each share series/class within the same legal entity
- Supports master/feeder structures and foreign exchange hedging
Yes, we can provide access through our online web portals. Managers are able to see detailed information regarding their investors and funds. The system allows managers to access various reports and data that go well beyond the typical NAV package. Additionally, the manager is able to download the information in various file formats. More information about our Web Access platforms are located here.
Our cybersecurity policy (FAQ above) ensures the protection and safety of all client data and allows us to offer these reports in a secure fashion.
This is highly system-controlled. We have a robust system diagnostics that independently checks for NAV discrepancies, missing prices, etc., before any NAV is sent to the client for their review. There are also two levels of human review. We encourage a system demonstration to showcase this system-based functionality in person.
CommonWealth uses Bloomberg as its main pricing vendor. On each NAV, we validate security price movements that are material or based on the funds valuation policy on threshold movements. We validate the flagged securities through our Bloomberg terminal to ensure the validity of the price (corporate actions, dividends, market movement, etc.). At the fund level, our technology ensures a controlled environment of pre-defined calculation parameters (parameters based on the fund’s legal documents) and utilizes a multi-layer review process on each NAV (first performed by the system’s diagnostic checks, second performed by the fund accountant, and third reviewed by someone other than the preparer of the NAV).
No, we have never had to re-state a NAV.
We support the fund audit process for all our clients, and engage in regular communication with the audit firms during the audit. We also have a Type II CSAE 3416 report, supplied by KPMG.
CommonWealth typically maintains escrow accounts with RBC on behalf of the fund. CommonWealth will instruct wires/cheques upon authorization from the investment manager or by way of standing instruction at the manager’s discretion. All wires/cheques are reviewed by a secondary party before being released to beneficiaries.
We do not offer a call centre at this time, however, the investor services team is always available to provide service for our clients. Service is available between 830AM – 530PM and both French and English is available.
Financial Reporting & Taxation
Yes we do have a team that monitors this, and when particularly relevant information is available we share it with the clients via email. We also offer quarterly Lunch and Learn events on topical events, which in the past have included FATCA, CRM-2, Federal Budget changes, and others, bringing in industry experts.
CommonWealth provides a wide variety of tax compliance services to our clients including and not limited to the analysis of taxable income for a fund, the preparation of T3 returns and T3 slips for investors, T5013 Partnership Information Returns and Slips, T2 Corporate Tax Returns for Funds, GST/HST filings for SLFI’s, PFIC reporting for funds with US investors, FATCA compliance support, and CRS support.
We provide each client with their funds’ provision before year end so that they have a better understanding of the fund's tax position and can perform some tax planning. Some managers ask that this be completed once, others multiple times. We also complete a detailed investor reconciliation that focuses on the non-financial information prior year end, so that all formatting/presentation of the slips is taken care of prior to the busy period.
Upon the finalization of the December 31st NAV, we start working on the fund's tax provision and investor allocation. In January, we produce the taxable income working papers, with investor allocations, by character, for client or auditor review, and in February, we finalize the taxable income calculation and investor allocations by addressing client or auditor comments. Once the comments are cleared, we produce soft copies of the tax slips through an automated upload. There is a final internal quality control review of the tax slips to ensure tax allocations are correct and investor non-financial slip data presentation is accurate and complete. At the manager's discretion, we welcome the fund's tax partners perform a review. The tax slips are delivered to clients in February or March for final sign-off, depending on the agreed up date for each client, and once we receive sign-off, our mailing team prints and mails out the slips. At present, these includes T5013, T3, T5, NR4, T5008 and all of the Quebec equivalents, while other types of slips can be accommodated.
Financial statements can be mailed or emailed, and tax slips are mailed; can be provided directly to the investor by us or through you to disseminate. We are flexible to your required service levels. Agreed in advance, we set a deadline with each client for their funds.
Yes we do provide offshore administration. We are a licensed administrator in Barbados where we maintain a registered office. We administer fund in a variety of offshore jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands.
Our services are not discriminatory based on location of fund. We are able to provide the same services to any of our funds that we administer regardless of location. Additionally, we will act in the same professional, accurate and inclusive way to all of our funds.