Wealth & Finance International, February 2017
Rolling with the Times – Simon Koziel, founder of ProTrak, tells us more about the firm and how it has adapted over the years to suit ever-evolving financial landscape.
ProTrak International, Inc. was founded over 25 years ago, and has been the go-to choice for traditional investment managers, hedge funds, private equity and wealth management firms seeking a highly focused, industry-specific, and easy to use CRM platform.
Founder, Simon Koziel, tells us more about the firm and its core offering to clients. “Initially, ProTrak was designed from ground up to serve the relationship needs of the traditional investment managers with a focus on institutional investment community,” he begins.
“Over the year as alternative investment strategies, such as hedge funds, funds-of-funds and private equity began to enter the industry in greater numbers, we were quick to adapt our solution to fit their needs. As a result, ProTrak evolved into a firm-wide strategic solution built on a strong CRM foundation that is the glue that binds it all together.
“Today, ProTrak CRM provides a unified investor centric view focused on client’s accounts, funds, products, activities and follow-ups plus pipeline, analytics / reports, email mass marketing / tracking, event and workflows management. The out-of-the-box configuration offers three distinct database silos encapsulated under one central ProTrak data warehouse. Depending on the type of the firm, one can separately configure the profiles as Clients / Investors, Consultants / Intermediaries, Managers, Advisors, Brokers, Deal Flow and so on.
As founder of the firm Simon is very proud of the fact that three of the top 10 largest global hedge fund managers are ProTrak clients.
“Over 85% of ProTrak’s new updates stem directly from clients feedback, and we are continuously re-investing in new functional enhancements,” he explains. Hedge Funds are just one of ProTrak’s primary markets, the others being Traditional Asset Managers, Private Equity, Family Offices, Wealth Management and Investment Research.”
Simon is very much involved on a day-to-day basis with all aspects of running the business. His primary role is on overseeing sales, client services and product development teams. He tells us more about his role: “What helps me a lot in managing so many different aspects of running a business is our in-house ProTrak CRM solution that is used internally by all members of the firm, from Sales, Marketing, Client Services, Accounting, and Product Development.
“I am very passionate about our solution and its benefits, and in this spirit personally sign off on all of the new functional designs being introduced by ProTrak. Since the user interface is such an important aspect of a software solution, I provide a direction and approve the final design that is offered in new versions of the software.”
Simon is also very quick to sing the praises of his staff, of whom he is very proud. With a management team with more than 15 years’ experience with ProTrak and a client services team with an average of 10+ years with the firm, it’s easy to see how integral these employees are to the success of the firm.
“Since ProTrak is our only product and, with our staff’s in-depth industry knowledge, we truly understand our clients’ business,” he enthuses. “It is this skill of the team that really drives the ongoing development of our solution. They know how to identify an opportunity for improvement and new enhancements from client feedback. Since every team member has to use ProTrak for their day-to-day work flow, the knowledge of what’s available and how to provide a solution to client questions, comes naturally to them.”
The investment management space is continuously changing due to frequent regulatory requirements and political winds, especially with the election of a new president in USA. Simon explains that 2016 saw more hedge fund closings than the number of new start-ups, in effect contracting the hedge fund universe. He goes into more depth about what ProTrak can expect in the future, both with regards to opportunities and challenges.
“When ProTrak was founded 28 years ago, we were predominantly focused on the institutional investment management space. Over the subsequent years, as non-traditional investment strategies such as hedge funds, fund-of-funds and private equity began to grow in size and dominance, we were quick to adapt our solution to the changing marketplace. Today, 45% of our clients are in the alternative asset management space. There are fewer investment management firms around today than in 2009, when the last recession hit. “
“This year and beyond we plan to steadily grow our client universe in alternative management and investment research space. The vast majority of ProTrak’s clients are located in the United States and the United Kingdom, with New York and London being the most active sources of business. But, we have started to see more interest from Asia and Middle East, primarily from Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. Our most recent expansion effort has been focused on start-ups and emerging managers, which historically has been outside the scope of our client base. In order to attract this sector we have recently reorganized our fee structure and started offering a “hybrid” solution that gives lower tier clients the option to design a license that fits their specific needs. For example, we have an administrative license, a standard full user license, a view only license and an email only license. These options offer start-ups a high value system that better fits their pocketbook.”
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