3i-backed Fulcrum to set up shop in India

3i-backed Fulcrum to set up shop in India

Bermuda-based hedge funds administrator Fulcrum Ltd, which received $57 million (Rs232 crore) funding from UK private equity investor 3i Group Plc.’s Growth Capital in June, will begin operations in India by the end of the year.

Akshaya Bhargava, former chief executive officer and managing director of Infosys BPO Ltd (earlier known as Progeon Ltd), is in the process of taking charge of Fulcrum as CEO and will be tasked with bringing the company’s operations to India. “We are currently hiring," Bhargava said in an email. “As you might imagine, this is very complex work and there is very little experience in India. We will hire and train people, so we expect to be operational, working for funds, by year-end or so."

Bhargava joined 3i in May 2006, two months after officially completing his term at Infosys BPO. He has been leading the investment focus of 3i’s outsourced services.

He comes to Fulcrum with experience both in the financial services and outsourcing spaces. Prior to Infosys, Bhargava worked at Citibank in India as well as in the UK and Czech Republic. At Infosys, he built the Bangalore-based IT services major’s business process outsourcing unit almost from start-up to $86 million in revenues. Apart from the Fulcrum investment, Bhargava also led 3i’s recent investment of €37 million for a minority stake in Luxembourg-based KNEIP Communication.

He will continue to be based out of London and will take the place of Fulcrum’s current CEO Glenn Henderson, who will become the chief sales officer.

Fulcrum, which started operations in 1995, will use the 3i investment to increase the number of hedge funds it administers, venture into new service lines and gain clients in new territories in Europe and Asia. The company already has offices in London, New York, Toronto, Cayman Islands and Dublin.

Some of the back-office services the company offers include the creation and maintenance of full multi-currency account records, net asset value (NAV) verification, statistical and compliance reporting, and communication of NAV to investors and approved third parties.

3i’s investment in Fulcrum comes after two other large investments in India. According to financial data provider Thompson Financial, in January the company invested in two media and communications companies: $22 million in UFO Moviez Ltd and $125 million in Nimbus Communications Ltd, together with Cisco Systems Inc and an undisclosed investor. In 2006, 3i’s investments were in electronics, transportation and infrastructure construction.