Arcus Infrastructure Partners (Arcus IP) specialises in managing physical infrastructure investments, an alternative type of investment within private equity. Based in Luxembourg, the total assets under management currently stand at 2.3 billion euros. Clients are predominantly pension funds, and are mainly located in the UK, central and western Europe, Canada and Australia.
The Arcus IP team has strong industry knowledge of ports, railways, airports, roads, energy and power (including renewables), water, utilities and telecommunications. Their staff consist of 35 people. The board has four members – two internal directors and two Luxembourg-based independent directors.
The board at Arcus IP manage 13 different entities. On top of a complex organisational structure, they usually hold more than 100 meetings in a year, which results in a lot of people, information and resources to administer.
Mr Cremonesi, Partner at Arcus IP, explained that security, auditability and investor confidence were the main areas where they felt there were opportunities to improve.
The company acknowledged the need, firstly, for a tool to share information before meetings and secondly to make sure information is held securely. “The way the data is physically held is absolutely crucial to the company,” said Mr Cremonesi. This requirement is evidenced by a recent CSSF circular which proposes that if board/strategic documentation is to be managed by non-PSF accredited third-party firm then due diligence checks should be undertaken.
Previously the board exchanged documents via email and organised appointments in Microsoft Outlook, relying on the inbuilt security of those programs to safeguard confidential information. This approach is not suited to the evolving cyber security landscape and increased the risk of cyber-attacks. What they required was a solution with secure infrastructure. This would consist of bombproof data storage, secure data transfer and an application designed to support the safe distribution of documents.
Investment firms operate in a strict regulatory environment and are required to make a transparent historical record of decisions available to auditors. “It’s absolutely crucial to be able to show decisions were taken in Luxembourg, that we fully discussed each decision, and that all the managers and directors were properly informed,” Mr Cremonesi stated. “We need to retain a record of each decision, the underlying reason for the decision and details of the analyses performed.”
It is essential to their investors that they are able to administer the entities they manage, well. The company currently manages a total of 13 entities. Mr Cremonesi said, “Having properly managed, documented and organised meetings is a key to our success and is also an element which is recognised by our investors as fundamental to remove any risk and uncertainty around the management of their investment.” With more than 100 meetings per year the volume of documents was becoming burdensome and a solution was needed to manage all the information being produced.
After performing a situational analysis, Arcus IP identified that meeting management software would improve the governance of their organisation. This prompted their search for such a tool. When deciding which solution to go with, the board looked at four different options.
“We decided to go for BoardPacks as it is an easy to use platform,” said Mr Cremonesi. The document management capability is a positive step for their transparency and auditability.
“We don’t waste any more time digging through our emails to find the right version of the document,” said Mr Cremonesi. “As you can imagine it can be quite common that a document is circulated multiple times. Things change and things evolve. Using email means that you always have to dig out your old emails and find the last document and there is the risk of making mistakes.” BoardPacks makes documentation readily available to auditors who need to view decision trails.
When Arcus IP found that BoardPacks was the sole PSF accredited board/strategic document third-party management service provider operating in Luxembourg, choosing to go ahead with the implementation became an easy decision for them.
The company quickly realised the benefit to managing meetings, securely, thanks to the ability to access, edit and share documents from anywhere. This is essential for prudent management of their investors’ assets and maintaining the confidence of those investors.
After having a trial of BoardPacks they found it reduced the cost of their operations. This enabled them to offer better value to clients. Mr Cremonesi said, “I must say that the time of the board is really quite expensive so there is definitely great savings to having everything in one place. BoardPacks is absolutely a step forward. It also translates into time saved, and therefore money. In my experience the savings are a multiple of the cost of the tool.”
Beyond the tangible benefits to adopting BoardPacks they experienced a continuous flow of updates, information and requests for improvements going back and forth, making them feel valued. “One of the crucial elements was the very good impression we had of the attention of the BoardPacks team to each customer. We felt that BoardPacks’ people were hearing us, they prioritised our needs and they were also keen on improving their product on the basis of our recommendations. When they promise implementation they deliver, which is great.“
The partners at Arcus IP have been using BoardPacks for just over a year now. In that time they have become accustomed to managing their many meetings using the software. They used to send sensitive documents by email, print them before the meeting and attempt to edit them multiple times before the meeting date. With BoardPacks they have said goodbye to these costly paper-based rituals.