Client Spotlight: Hermes GPE

Canoe Intelligence talked with Karen Sands, Chief Operating Officer at Hermes GPE about her experience managing alternatives documents and data, and how Canoe has helped the firm automate traditionally manual workflows and support business growth.

Hermes GPE is an investment manager and advisor, specializing in developing bespoke and diversified portfolios for clients that provide access to global private markets via fund investments, co-investments, and direct investments in buyouts, growth businesses, infrastructure, and renewables assets.

Tell us about your experience with alternatives documents and data management before using Canoe. What challenges did you face? How did you spend your time?

Hermes GPE manages globally unconstrained private equity investment mandates, deploying substantial amounts of capital to both funds and mid-market co-investment strategies, leveraging our 300+ strong GP network. We currently manage c130 co-investments and around 200 fund investments in over 20 live vehicles for institutional investors worldwide.

Whilst our investment strategy has delivered an impressive track record that consistently outperforms benchmarks, this diversified approach creates operational complexity that needs managing to ensure best-in-class data output that supports our decision-making and reporting. The business generates a significant volume of data that needs to be tracked and harnessed to realize value from our portfolio. However, data comes in via multiple sources, in different formats, and is of varying quality due to different reporting standards and geographical requirements. This is a common problem shared by many of our peers due to the idiosyncratic nature of private markets. Prior to implementing Canoe, investment data processes were time-consuming, with documents collected and processed manually from over 60 portals and multiple emails from GPs.

Why did you choose Canoe as your partner for alternatives documents and data management? Did you evaluate other solutions? Which Canoe features stood out to you in your evaluation process?

Safeguarding the control environment, and driving efficient and effective processes are at the heart of our operations. We continually strive to find improvements that will help us work smarter. Canoe provides a scalable and automated solution that helps us to better collect and process unstructured investment data from multiple sources. This has been instrumental in moving the team away from being data processors to becoming data managers and spending more time on value-add activities such as analysis and forecasting.

What is the best part of your Canoe experience so far?

Canoe understands our operating model and its accompanying challenges and brings a solutions-based approach to our business that supports our organization at every level. We have completed the implementation of Canoe and it is now an important factor in our valuation process. Currently, we are working together to re-model our investment cashflows process to allow automated throughput processing, from notices being received to payments being made. This requires the Canoe platform, our accounting software, and online banking to be seamlessly and securely connected and we very much look forward to working with Canoe in the coming months to harness yet more potential efficiencies.

Karen Sands, Chief Operating Officer, Hermes GPE

Karen is Hermes GPE’s COO, with overall responsibility for the financial oversight of corporate and fund finance, the financial control environment, systems, and operations. She joined Hermes Private Equity (a Hermes GPE predecessor organisation) in 2004. Karen is a member of the Hermes GPE Private Equity and Infrastructure Management Committees and Chair of the Hermes GPE Operational Management Committee.  She previously worked in finance at Matrix Property Management and began her career at Equity Asset Management. Karen is Vice-Chair of Invest Europe’s Working Group on Accounting Standards, Valuation, and Reporting, a member of Invest Europe’s Professional Standards Committee and the BVCA Legal & Accounting Committee. She is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.

Hermes GPE announced its engagement with Canoe Intelligence in August 2021.