Five Things to Look For in an Alternative Asset Manager

Alternative Asset Manager

Alternative asset managers invest outside traditional asset classes, such as commodities. They are typically cyclical, like financial markets, and do well when others struggle. But, then, alternative asset managers, like hedge funds, act. These are High fees, Complexity, and Diversification. Ultimately, it is essential to understand your options.

Investments that fall outside of traditional asset classes

In the current financial climate, institutional investors are flocking to these assets as an excellent way to diversify their portfolios. In addition, alternative asset managers like Patrik Edsparr provide investors with the flexibility to invest in various asset classes and avoid the red tape associated with traditional investment methods. While you may not be able to participate in them directly, you can leverage your knowledge to get an edge over your competition.

While traditional funds offer exposure to the real economy, most are traded on public markets and thus subject to the effects of market fluctuations. Nevertheless, the lack of liquidity and transparency of alternative investments can be a drawback for retail investors. While changes in regulations in Canada have made many alternative funds accessible to retail investors, most private assets remain out of reach of the average investor. If you’re considering investing in alternative investments, research your options and choose a firm with experience managing these assets.

High fees

The rise of alternatives has put a squeeze on traditional asset classes. Many fund managers have diversified into these new classes to command higher fees. A recent Alpha FMC survey indicates that only 29 percent of asset managers anticipate declining expenses in the next decade. Both institutional clients and regulators are driving the race to the bottom for asset management fees.

Some managers attempt to create scarcity in their funds by increasing fees or introducing lock-up clauses. Unlike the broader market, start-up funds typically offer discounts on their fees. High fees for an alternative asset manager may pose a fiduciary conflict of interest for some investors. However, this type of compensation has its advantages. Investing in start-up funds can be an ideal way to reduce your risks and achieve superior performance.

Complexity

According to new research, in a financial technology company, the complexity of an alternative asset manager is increasing. During the first quarter of 2017, 152 managers moved to a higher complexity profile than they did at the end of the previous year, led by hedge funds. The complexity profile measures 40 factors and tracks qualified audits to help users determine how risky a manager is. In addition, this new research helps fund managers identify areas of risk and complexity.

Because alternative asset managers like Patrik Edsparr team have such a diverse portfolio, they face numerous data management challenges. While traditional investment managers have millions of retail investors, alternatives own entire companies and support highly structured capital from institutional investors. The management of these types of investments requires highly specialized, smaller firms. Moreover, relatively few vendors specialize in alternative asset managers and their data management needs. As a result, they face multiple data management challenges, including combining traditional financial data with ESG.

Diversification

When looking for an investment manager, diversification is critical. Alternative asset managers are cyclical businesses that typically do better when the market is doing poorly. This is because they act like hedge funds. The key to success is diversifying your investments to achieve a higher risk-adjusted return. Choosing an asset class based on diversification is essential. Diversification reduces risk by balancing the risks and reward of different investments. This means that when one investment performs well, the other is likely to suffer. Diversification also protects against a single-asset-class loss. For example, if you invest in an equity fund, your portfolio will contain stocks and bonds. As a result, the two assets may have opposite returns, allowing you to reduce your overall risk.

Regulation

While most financial institutions are well-equipped to deal with the increased complexity and regulation of the investment industry, the alternative asset management industry is a neophyte. The level of IT sophistication and built-out infrastructure is inconsistent. Most hedge fund IT dollars go toward the front, middle, and back offices, but some very sophisticated players are out there. Nevertheless, even these firms may still struggle with the regulatory burden.

Public opinion against the “wizards of Wall Street” has turned, and public outcry has led to increased regulation. New legislation has introduced new disclosure requirements and increased transparency standards for alternative asset managers, including mandatory manager registration. Proposals to register and report activities are imminent, and these measures are expected to be implemented within the next few months. Regulating alternative asset managers will improve transparency and protect investors. The industry supports these efforts as an essential step in ensuring a stable financial system.

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