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Keeping An Eye on the Data


I joined Rock Creek Group, a Washington-based asset-management firm that invests in hedge funds for institutional investors, in May, 2005, as vice-president for operations. Before taking this role, I managed the back- and middle-office operations for World Bank's hedge fund, private equity, and real estate portfolios. Back- and middle-office operations include accounting, reporting, and managing the relationships with the custodian bank, administrator, and different service providers.

NEW TOOLS. My main responsibility at Rock Creek is financial reporting. My team's mandate is to provide the investment team and our clients with accurate and reliable data essential for prudent and timely investment decisions.

My duties include working with the technology group to develop new tools and improve Rock Creek's existing reporting systems. Our company has invested in technology to manage and keep track of information on hedge-fund managers that we have funded or short-listed.

My job also requires me to liaise with the clients, fund administrators, banks, auditors, lawyers, investment managers, consultants, and other service providers. Here's a typical day:

8:00 a.m. -- Take the orange line Metro from Virginia Square in Arlington, Va., to Farragut West in Washington, D.C. Rock Creek's office is just a few blocks away from the Metro stop.

8:30 a.m. -- Log on and start checking e-mail and the day's meeting schedules.

8:45 a.m. -- Meet with my colleagues in the finance and operations team to go through the list of different accounting and performance reports that we'll send to clients today.

9:00 a.m. -- Prepare for a conference call with one of Rock Creek's hedge-fund managers. This entails reviewing notes from previous meetings and conference calls with this manager.

We meet with all managers to review their back-office setup at least twice a year, in addition to our biweekly investment conference calls, where they also give us updates on changes in the organization of their business.

9:30 a.m. -- Review the questionnaire on back-office operations and make the necessary changes to customize it for the manager we will call today.

The questionnaires differ according to the strategy, asset class, and geographical exposure of each manager. A typical one includes questions on whether the manager has been a subject of any recent legal or regulatory inquiry, changes in counterparty agreements, or changes in personnel.

10:00 a.m. -- Dial in and join the conference call. This manager has recently had trade breaks related to pricing. Although the amounts were relatively small or insignificant in relation to their total assets under management, we ask about the causes of such errors, the actions they took to resolve them, and the steps they are taking to avoid similar problems in the future.

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