March this year saw Robert Mirsky, then Global Head of Hedge Funds at KPMG, become Global Head of Asset Management and UK Managing Partner at EisnerAmper.
Mirsky was also charged with opening EisnerAmper’s first UK office and now presides over a small but fast-growing team. The firm is better known in the US, where it is the fifth largest financial services practice, and offers a full suite of accountancy, audit, tax advisory and business advisory services to clients operating in a wide spectrum of business sectors and industries.
Staff globally total 1,500, including 180 partners and principals. The Financial Services Practice, which comprises the Asset Management Group and the Capital Markets Group, is the largest industry group within EisnerAmper, with more than 250 professionals and 40 Partners advising over 2,500 financial services clients.
For Mirsky, the move from KPMG to EisnerAmper has given him the opportunity of flexing his entrepreneurial skills with the establishment of the London office. “It’s so exciting to have something that I can put my mark on,” he says. “Good fortune landed me in the spot to help drive that forward.”
It also gives him the chance of broadening out of hedge funds and widen his remit into asset management generally.
He describes his new firm as ‘specialists’. “We are focused and specialised in key areas which makes us far more nimble and entrepreneurial in how we approach clients and the marketplace,” he says, obviously excited to have walked away from challenging decision-making trees and into a role where he can have a direct line to the CEO.
“We can look at how we can serve our clients better,” he says. “In the asset management space, which moves fairly quickly, you need that. It’s not a staid old business and we pride ourselves on being able to work quickly.”
The current focus is dominated by growing the new office, hiring people and looking for opportunities to partner with other firms or potentially acquire or merge with other firms, Mirsky says.
Commenting on the current state of the asset management industry, Mirsky reports that larger firms are offering more and more products in terms of being solution providers.
“You are seeing the global big firms turning into all singing all dancing solution providers to both institutional investors as well as high net worths, family offices and retail. They are offering the total panoply of offerings to all.”
He sees larger firms acquiring other businesses and bringing in-house skill sets they might not have had in the past.
“There is a continuing bar belling within the asset management industry of niche asset managers and larger ones,” Mirsky says.
“The niche managers offer specialist investment ideas and that middle section which offers a few things here and there are thinking what is our next iteration – are we going to become bigger or are we being acquired.”
Mirsky predicts that consolidation will continue and growth of the phenomenon of large businesses acquiring stakes in asset managers.
He also reports an increase in start-up activity in the hedge fund and private equity spaces in both the US and London. “It’s not a torrent but I feel that in Q3 and Q4 we will see more of a renewed interest in start-up activity.”
This may be driven by the confidence in the markets which continues despite increased volatility, he says.
“There is an opportunity right now to continue riding on the most hated bull market in history,” Mirsky says. “We’re nine years in but it continues.”
In terms of sectors, Mirsky has seen pretty significant growth in private credit in Europe, with funds focused on direct lending to businesses. He feels that this is driven by the step back banks have taken in lending.
Another exciting area has been the growth of venture capital funds in the UK, particularly focused on the tech sector.
“We are seeing a number of tech start-ups and increasingly locally in the UK we see funds looking to tap into something very exciting as there is a vibrant technology community here.”
Within that sector, AI and machine learning dominate, adding, Mirsky notes, value to start-ups just by being in the prospectus.