“PEF leverages the expertise they gather from their experiences with other clients and provides us with insight from an accounting perspective. They’ve got our backs.”
Charlie Edmondson, CFO, Kian Capital
Founded in 2011, Kian Capital is a private investment firm that makes mezzanine and equity capital investments focused on the lower middle market sector in the southeast region as well as national opportunities. The firm has extensive regional experience, strategically located offices in Charlotte and Atlanta, and an established network of professionals that enables them to act as a value-added partner to local management teams.
When Kian Capital launched their first fund, they needed to administer SBIC investments that required complex and rigorous reporting requirements set by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For the first year after the launch of their first fund, the firm managed these processes in house, a situation that Charlie Edmondson, Kian Capital’s CFO, described as “very difficult and time consuming.”
After evaluating several options, Kian Capital engaged PEF to manage their fund. They based their selection on PEF’s reputation in the private capital community, their SBIC expertise, and their extensive client list.
“We recognized many of the names on the list, and PEF even enabled us to speak with a couple of their clients, which was very reassuring,” said Edmondson.
The onboarding process took approximately a month from start to finish, and Edmondson was surprised at how seamless it was.
“The whole process was very simple. We extracted the raw data from our accounting system to theirs, and PEF provided us with very easy-to-use templates that took about 30 minutes to populate and send. It made the transition much smoother.”
For the first quarter of the engagement, Edmondson shadowed the books to ensure everything was running smoothly. Once they felt completely comfortable entrusting PEF with management of their fund, Kian Capital “flipped the switch” and left the accounting and reporting entirely in PEF’s hands.
When PEF assumed control of Kian Capital’s fund accounting and reporting, the firm saw an immediate change in the speed and integrity of these processes.
“The amount of time it took to close the books and to generate SBA reporting went from 45 days to 15. I could never have expected it to be done that quickly,” said Edmondson. “Even today, with 16 investments and significant volume on a quarterly basis, we still close the books in about 15 days.”
Kian Capital also saw tremendous benefit in PEF’s Investor Library, an online, private portal where investors can access documentation including capital calls, distribution notices, investor letters, and annual and quarterly reports. Edmondson credits this resource with helping Kian Capital deliver a higher level of service and responsiveness to their Limited Partners.
But the greatest benefit for Kian Capital has been the ability to access PEF’s expertise on demand. For example, when Kian Capital invested in companies with warrants and other atypical attributes, PEF was able to guide them through the potential accounting and reporting issues.
“PEF leverages the expertise they gather from their experiences with other clients and provides us with insight from an accounting perspective,” Edmondson said. “They’ve got our backs.”
That level of trust has enabled PEF to function as a seamless extension of the Kian Capital team.
“It really feels like a relationship,” he said. “At the end of the day, the account managers, the accounting administrators, the reporting people, the Investor Library people, it’s a partnership. I value that a lot.”