Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times: How We Helped Clients to Navigate New Challenges

While the financial services industry globally has been facing these extraordinary circumstances, Athena International Management (“Athena”) has been working closely with our investment management clients to provide them with a sense of certainty and confidence in the fund governance they have in place. Here are some of the ways we have pivoted our service offering and supported our clients through the global pandemic, which have been recognised across the industry by leaders such as HFM Global, with Athena recently being shortlisted for “Best Offshore Governance Firm” in their US Services Awards.

The COVID-19 Challenge

The most significant challenges for our hedge fund clients so far this year have been in two main areas: (i) firstly, keeping up to date with the exceptional level of legal and regulatory developments in the Cayman Islands and across the global regulatory landscape; and (ii) more significantly, the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19, both in terms of the consequences of the significant disruption across financial markets and in causing asset management firms and their service providers to execute their business continuity planning programmes and remote working operations.

We responded to the challenges by creating as much certainty as we could provide to our clients and to our team. We used our core values as a compass to help navigate the global pandemic. Reinforcing the company’s culture helped built trust and credibility within our team and by reframing challenges as opportunities, we helped shift the perspective.

Depth and Breadth of Our Experience

Our directors were and remain well equipped to deal with the challenges presented by COVID-19 with the benefit of having worked through the 2008 crisis. In this regard, we stood out from the crowd, both due to our experience in having dealt with previous market disruptions and also because, in limiting our numbers of appointments, we were readily available at a moment’s notice and had the requisite capacity to support our clients as issues arose.

Our Subject Matter Expertise

We also assisted our clients in identifying key areas of risk that fund managers need to consider when determining the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and on the results, financial position, disclosures and reporting expected by investors. We maintained board effectiveness by assisting managers in monitoring the efficiency of contingency efforts and the operational resiliency of their critical service providers.

We also worked with fund managers through distressed situations relating to liquidity and redemption activity as a result of COVID-19 and drawing on lessons learned during the 2008 financial crisis and other economic cycles.

Our True Independence

As a truly independent governance firm, we maintain complete independence from legal counsel, fund administrators and other service providers to the fund to avoid conflicts of interests in line with global regulatory independence standards and stakeholder expectations, allowing us to objectively carry out our fiduciary duties. Our independence adds significant value to our clients in creating a robust governance framework and is welcomed by investors, allocators, operational due diligence professionals and local and overseas regulators alike. In recent months, our independence has served us well in assisting our clients to navigate conflicts of interest that have arisen due to COVID-19, from allocations to sensitive investor relations matters.

Our Robust Infrastructure

With social distancing measures still in place and our inability to travel internationally creating new challenges insofar as we have not been able to meet physically with our clients, we have successfully adapted to the new normal by leveraging virtual communications technology and, as a result, are interacting with our clients even more frequently Additionally, our Information Technology, Business Continuity Planning, data protection and cyber security framework facilitated our seamless pivot to working remotely during the lockdown period and has allowed us to remain flexible as we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the alternative investment management arena.

To learn more about Athena’s fund governance solutions, contact Allison Nolan at