Personal Connection: Uniting Clients and Service Providers

Matthew Devine-Hill profile image
Matthew Devine-Hill
Associate Director, Private Equity & Venture Capital.
Published: 16th Mar 2023

An examination of the
client-service provider relationship and the pursuit of enhancing this connection.



It’s a chilly Wednesday morning at 7:00 AM, and I’m seated on a fully booked British Airways flight, prepared for a day of meetings in the city. However, the pilot informs us that due to unexpected foggy weather in London, our departure will be delayed by two hours.

Five minutes post-announcement, I find myself engrossed in scrolling through Instagram, exploring an array of CrossFit videos, Tiger Woods highlights, and countless memes. This is when I stumble upon a picture that resonated with me and sparked my thoughts about the evolving relationship between clients and service providers.

Throughout my career, I’ve have had the unique benefit of experiencing both sides of the fence when it comes to client and service provider relationship perspectives. In my previous role I worked at a leading private equity firm managing middle office responsibilities of global fund structures and strategies with AUM of [circa] $2.5bn, and now as part of the Private Equity & Venture Capital service team at Altum.

Having witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly of client-service provider relationships, I started contemplating the elements of a successful partnership and the fundamental characteristics which I am proud to be instilling in my service team at Altum.

So, in my opinion, there are three main components essential for building successful service teams and forging strong client partnerships:

People are the cornerstone of any thriving business. From a client’s perspective, the most meaningful relationships with service providers involve teams that meaningfully engage with their clients. It’s crucial to have a voice, a face, and a rapport.

We have shifted away from transactional relationships to genuine partnerships. As a service provider, we strive to be an extension of our client’s middle or back office. This position of trust and responsibility strengthens the client-service provider bond and adds real value to our clients.

Expertise is a critical extension of the “People” component. By employing ‘best in class’ individuals with genuine passion and deep knowledge of our clients and the asset classes they serve elevates the quality of our service and deepens the partnership.

Our recruitment focuses on attracting and retaining experts (rather than just getting bums on seats), as their knowledge benefits the entire team and creates a unique work culture.

It’s important to recognize people’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests to create well-rounded service teams that truly understand the assets they’re handling.

From my experience most service providers will claim to be “fully automated” or “tech-enabled,” but in reality, a significant amount will still rely heavily on manual Excel spreadsheets with outdated formulas and V-lookups.

Don’t get me wrong as an accountant, I appreciate a good spreadsheet, but humans are slow and can be prone to errors. Embracing technology and understanding its potential benefits is the future of our industry. Equally important is having people knowledgeable enough to know what technology can deliver to our clients.

By incorporating the first two points and equipping our service teams with cutting-edge technology, we have created an ideal combination for clients, delivering high-quality service with a distinctive edge.

These are just a few key components I believe that if utilised fully will ensure the building of a successful service team, and at #TeamAltum these principles guide the development of each and every one our client service teams.

If you have the drive and ambition to be part of our journey and join an expanding team, please drop me a message or follow the link to our current vacancies and come find out if the grass is greener because I can assure you… it is.

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