HighWater. A mark of peak performance.
Formerly known as DirectorsPlus Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of DMTC Group Limited), HighWater has made its mark in the Cayman Islands’ alternative investment fund industry as a company specialising in the provision of governance services. While focusing primarily on providing director services to the offshore alternative investment industry, including Cayman Islands registered hedge funds, fund of hedge funds, private equity funds and investment managers, HighWater also offers a wide range of ancillary services. These include the provision of physical presence services to investment managers, secretarial support services, the provision of Money Laundering Reporting Officers (“MLRO”) and/or Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) Compliance Officers and consultation on establishing or closing Cayman funds. In addition, HighWater provides assistance to Cayman funds that are in distress and require “hands on” management assistance at a board level to deal with service providers and investors that seek clear direction during times of uncertainty.
With a distinct focus on Cayman-domiciled funds and investment managers, HighWater differentiates itself in an increasingly competitive market by providing a high-quality and limited-capacity director service. At HighWater, only the principals take on directorships and they perform those key functions personally, recognizing the increasing importance attached to the commitment, attention and credibility of the independent director. As a result, there are natural limits to the number of directorships that Highwater can take on, so our focus is on a limited number of high quality clients to manage our own risk.
With a philosophy based on integrity, reliability and dependability, HighWater adheres to best governance practices through the appointment of experienced, professional, non-executive directors who are truly independent. HighWater recognizes that conflicts of interest are an important concern of fiduciary investors and addresses this by not allowing any of its staff to invest in client funds and by not having an economic affiliation with any of the service providers to the hedge funds and manager entities to which HighWater directors accept appointment.
HighWater’s success has been built on strong relationships with clients and key service providers as a consequence of regular interaction and constructive working experiences together. In terms of geography and investment strategy, HighWater has a diverse portfolio of clients across the Americas, Europe and Asia covering a wide variety of investment strategies, including hedge funds, fund of funds and private equity.
HighWater directors have a wide range of industry experience, including regulation, audit, investment allocation and fund due diligence, treasury and banking, fund administration and law and are therefore able to advise at all stages of a fund’s life cycle – from structuring and establishing the fund, through ongoing operations, to the winding down of both alternative and traditional investment vehicles.
All three Cayman-based principals play leading roles in the development and promotion of the Cayman Islands’ financial services industry, and have participated actively on the Cayman Islands Financial Services Council, the Caymanian Bar Association, the Cayman Islands Funds Administrators Association, the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants, the Cayman chapter of AIMA, and Cayman Finance.
At HighWater, our culture is distinctly entrepreneurial yet disciplined and focused:
Relationships – are long-term, earned and personal
Experience – is broad, relevant and extensive
Integrity - that derives from being free of conflicts, regulatory approved and due diligence cleared by significant fiduciary investors
HighWater is regulated by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (“CIMA”) under the Companies Management Law (2003) and is audited by a CIMA approved audit firm.
Focus on Corporate Governance
High quality, independent directors are increasingly considered “value added” not just by regulators but also by investors, prime brokers, service providers and tax authorities, all of whom expect the Board of Directors to provide substantive and meaningful oversight and guidance.
The alternative investment industry is experiencing:
At the same time there are a decreasing number of traditional directorship providers because:
- Increased regulatory and investor emphasis on corporate governance
- Increased assessment of actual and perceived conflicts of interests
- Growing importance of independence of service providers, including directors and their appropriateness and commitment to the fund, and importantly their roles in times of stress
- Growing focus on relevant background and experience, availability and commitment of directors
- Increased use of complex structures requiring deeper understanding and technical experience
- Effect of litigation and complex liquidations
- Capacity issues
Appointing credible, knowledgeable and engaged directors is an important decision for a fund and its manager. Taking on the important responsibilities of a director is not a commodity service and not all directors are the same.
- Prime brokers and custodians do not offer directorship services because of conflicts of interests and potential liability issues
- Major administrators do not offer directorship services or are reducing or eliminating them to minimize potential liability
- Some law firms offer traditional directorship services but face potential conflicts of interest and liability of service affiliates