Browsing: Featured Post

Featured Post

Blockchains, Innovations, and Intermediaries

Aug 17th, 2017 | Filed under: Digital currencies, Emerging Alternative Investments, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I.

A new paper by Wulf A. Kaal, an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, looks at the proliferation of blockchain-related innovations in the world of private investment funds. In an earlier paper, Kaal discussed the impact this is having on the fee structure of that industry.Read More


Build Value: Don’t Just Meet Quarterly Targets!

Aug 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alternative Investments in Context, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

FCLT Global, a new not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote long-term thinking in business and finance, has issued a manifesto, “Rising to the Challenge of Short-Termism.” The paper was written by Dominic Barton, Jonathan Bailer, and Joshua Zoffer. Each is affiliated with McKinsey & Company, which is one of theRead More


Boston College’s CRR on Alternatives in Pension Portfolios

Aug 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Asset Allocation Models, Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has put out a white paper about public pensions and alternative investments.  It asks two questions: which plans have made the largest shift into alternatives? And, how has that shift mattered to their returns and risk? The report begins with the observationRead More


Real Estate Tops the Willis Alternative Investment League Table

Aug 10th, 2017 | Filed under: Hedge Funds, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) recently posted its Global Alternatives Survey. WLTW is a consultancy with a long history, roots going back to 1828, and that now has 40,000 employees serving clients in 140 countries. The gist of its new report is that the alternatives asset industry has grown toRead More


Networks, Modeling, and Funds of Funds

Aug 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Alternative Investments in Context, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

Two scholars affiliated with FERI Trust, a leading investment manager of the German-speaking countries of Europe, have written a study of hedge fund strategies that uses a “network-based analysis” thereof. The two authors, Eduard Baitinger and Thomas Maier, argue that hedge fund strategies show “numerous network-based properties” which help explainRead More


Boom or Bust? Are Advisors Ready For Baby Boomers To Retire?

Aug 7th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added

By Diane Harrison According to US census figures, Baby Boomers (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) represent about 28% of the US population in 2017, and are currently between 53 and 71 years old. Give or take an error margin of several thousand, this translates to about 76Read More


Til and Heckinger on Commodity Debacles, Part II

Aug 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Due Diligence Process, Newly Added, Personalities in AI, Risk Management & Operations

A new paper available at SSRN looks at two infamous commodity industry melt-downs: Amaranth and MF Global. It offers a diagnosis of each. The paper is co-authored by Hilary Till, of EDHEC – Risk, and Richard Heckinger, of the Working Group on Financial Markets, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. InRead More


Til and Heckinger on Commodity Debacles, Part I

Aug 3rd, 2017 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Energy, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

A new paper available at SSRN looks at two infamous commodity industry melt-downs: Amaranth and MF Global. It offers a diagnosis of each. Hilary Till, of the EDHEC – Risk Institute, and Richard Heckinger, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, share the by-line. They acknowledge research assistance from KatherineRead More


KPMG: Alternative Investment Industry Deal Momentum Continues

Aug 1st, 2017 | Filed under: Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

The auditing giant KPMG says in a recent report on merger and acquisition activity in the alternative asset management world that there was a dip in activity in this space in 2015, that there was a rebound “to more normalized levels” in 2016, and that the momentum off of thatRead More


An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing

Jul 31st, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Socially responsible investing, SRI and Clean Energy

On May 18, 2017, CAIA’s Boston Chapter held a panel discussion at the InterContinental Boston on “An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing.” Moderated by Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association, panelists included leading ESG investing experts Tim Brennan, Treasurer & CFO, Unitarian Universalist Association; Jeff Finkelman, CFA, Research Associate, Impact Investments,Read More


Hedge Fund Gigantism is Not Necessary

Jul 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Fees, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Seeding/early-stage, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

A joint survey by the Alternative Investment Management Association and GPP, the financial services firm formerly known as Global Prime Partners, disaggregates the hedge fund industry by size. It finds that the dynamics of the smallest (emerging-funds) sector looks very different once the “billion dollar club” and even the medium-sizedRead More


Hedge Funds in the United Kingdom

Jul 27th, 2017 | Filed under: Alternative Investments in Context, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

Just prior to the June 8 election in the UK this year, Preqin took a look at the state of the hedge fund industry there. Interest in this subject matter is high for the alternative industry globally, given London’s centrality and the great deal that is riding on how theRead More


AIMA Gets Its Groove On: Two New Guides

Jul 25th, 2017 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

The Alternative Investment Management Association, the global AI industry group, has been busy of late. Its recent publications include a Best Execution Guide for the European Union’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID 2) and a guide to fund administration. Fund Administration The AIMA guide on fund administration reworksRead More


Lessons from University Endowments

Jul 23rd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

In a recent article for The Journal of Investment Consulting, John Mulvey and Margaret Holen look at the practice of asset allocation among large U.S. university endowments. They focus on asset category definitions in the hope of throwing some light on “the movement to define asset categories with reference toRead More


Preqin and NXT Capital on the Filling of a Post-GFC Vacuum

Jul 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added

Preqin, in collaboration with NXT Capital, has surveyed institutional investors about the U.S. lower middle-market direct lending space, and has issued a report on their attitudes. The gist of the report is that investor appetite for the lower middle market “has steadily gained momentum in the past decade and …Read More


A Critique of the Listed Infrastructure Sector

Jul 18th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

A new study by EDHECinfra (EDHEC’s infrastructure institute based in Singapore), has a striking point of view on the whole “listed infrastructure” sector, which it says is based on the “fallacy of composition.” In economics and in logic, the term “fallacy of composition” refers to the general prejudice that ifRead More


Skin in the Game: Testing a Cliché

Jul 16th, 2017 | Filed under: Alternative Investments in Context, Asset Managers, Hedge Funds, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added

One of the most well-worn clichés in the hedge fund industry is the phrase “skin in the game.” Investors want managers who have “skin in the game,” that is, managers who risk/hedge their own money the same way they are risking/investing their outside investors’ money. A recent paper by ArpitRead More


Real Estate: A Global Outlook

Jul 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

PWC and the Urban Land Institute have jointly issued a report on “emerging trends in real estate” around the globe, which stresses that real estate’s attraction as an investment, even as a cross-border investment, has held up notwithstanding unprecedented levels of concern about geopolitics. The “global drift back to domesticRead More


Pensions: On Mortality and Long-Duration Corporate Bonds

Jul 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added

Milliman, an actuarial and consulting firm headquartered in Seattle, has completed a white paper on corporate pension funding based on its 17th annual analysis of the disclosures of the “Milliman 100,” that is, of the 100 biggest corporate defined benefit plan sponsors in the U.S. The funded ratio of theseRead More


Alternative Risk Premia Investing

Jul 9th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Asset Allocation Models, Newly Added

Unigestion has posted a research paper by Olivier Blin, Joan Lee, and Jérôme Teiletche, on “some of the practical considerations that should help investors get the most out of their allocation to” alternative risk premia (ARP) strategies. Unigestion is a boutique asset manager, and Blin is its head of crossRead More


Accounting Issues and Investing in Timberland

Jul 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Real Assets

On May 3, 2017, Ernst & Young made available the bullet points for a presentation on the “accounting, financial reporting, and regulatory considerations” affecting investment vehicles in this space. Mark to market or historic cost In general, the presentation says, the accounting treatment depends on where on a spectrum ofRead More


Wine: French Producers, U.S. Consumers, the World’s Investors        

Jul 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Emerging Alternative Investments, Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Real Assets

Agrifrance recently posted a report looking at the French wine industry, with an especial focus on export to the United States. The U.S. “has been the world’s leading wine market by value since 2013,” says the company head, Benoit Léchenault, in a preface to the report. France is the secondRead More


Timberland Investors See 0% Growth Rate for Harvesting Costs

Jul 3rd, 2017 | Filed under: Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Real Assets

Today, we’ll look at  KPMG’s effort to determine who exactly the investors in timberland are, what their underwriting assumptions are, and what are their expectations for the coming 12 months. The firms surveyed included North America’s timberland investment market participants with five different structures: appraisal or consulting organizations; integrated forestRead More


New Numbers on Catastrophe Bond Insurance

Jun 27th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Risk management, Risk Management & Operations, Structured Products

A new report from an Alternative Risk Transfer research service, Artemis, looks at the catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities market in the (recor- breaking) first quarter of 2017. Bond and ILS issuance reached the unprecedented level of $2.76 billion this Q1. That involved 25 tranches of notes from 14 deals,Read More


New Technologies Adding to Pressure on Fees

Jun 25th, 2017 | Filed under: Fees, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

A new paper proposes that emerging technologies (blockchains, Big Data and artificial intelligence) have increased pressure on the traditional hedge fund fee structure of 2 + 20. Its author is Wulf A. Kaal, an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas and director of the Private Investment Fund Institute.Read More


Sovereign Funds: Illiquidity and Transparency

Jun 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Newly Added, Real Assets

News reports in the waning days of the second quarter of 2017 indicate that sovereign wealth funds, especially those of the Middle East, have turned in a big way toward real estate. Invesco says that the region’s SWFs allocated 11% of their portfolios to international real property in 2016. RealRead More


Do Teachers Pensions Need Trumpian Negotiators?

Jun 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Hedge Funds, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has issued a lengthy rebuke to and critique of the fee structure of the alternatives investment industry; in a position paper it calls The Big Squeeze. Should the title be considered obscure, the subtitle is clearer about the paper’s thesis, “How Money Managers’ FeesRead More


Venture Capital Top 100 List(s): GP and LP

Jun 18th, 2017 | Filed under: Equity Types of Private Equity, Newly Added, Private Equity, Private Investments, Venture capital

Preqin has named its top 100 Venture Capital firms, ordered by the amount of capital each firm has raised in the last 10 years. The top 10, with their headquarters city, are as follows: Tiger Global Management, New York New Enterprise Associates, Menlo Park Sequoia Capital, Menlo Park DST Global,Read More


Growth and Challenges for Asset Management in Italy

Jun 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alternative Investments in Context, ETFs, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

A recent (May 2017) Deloitte white paper discussed asset management in Italy. The paper begins with the observation that key institutions in Italian finance have a relatively short history: going no further back than the mists of the 1990s. The Società di Intermediazione Mobiliare (SIM) – literally, the phrase meansRead More


What They’re Saying About Smart Beta, Tactics, and Strategy

Jun 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta, SRI and Clean Energy

For four years now, FTSE Russell has surveyed global institutions, asking about their interest in smart beta indexes and about their allocations to investable products based on same. The 2017 survey results are in. The new survey finds (as did the earlier ones) that risk reduction, return enhancement, and improvedRead More


Pension Funds’ Portfolio Decisions: The Dutch Data

Jun 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

DeNederlandscheBank (DNB) issued a working paper this spring about the impact of liquidity and capital constraints on defined benefit pension plans. The paper has three authors, Dirk Broeders, Kristy Jansen, and Bas Werker. The first named author, Broeders, is the only one formally affiliated with DNB. The others are affiliatedRead More


Institutions that Integrate ESG Considerations: 6 Types

Jun 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Alternative energy, Climate change, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Social investing, SRI and Clean Energy

A new white paper from the Investor Responsibility Research Center (the IRRC Institute) in conjunction with Sustainalytics looks at the various approaches that investors, institutional investors in particular, might and do take to integrate ESG issues into their portfolio decisions. Specifically, the IRRC and Sustainalytics, two Manhattan-based research groups longRead More


New Zealand PE and VC Activity on the rise

Jun 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Equity Types of Private Equity, Newly Added, Private Equity, Private Investments, Venture capital

An increase in total buy-out investments proved a big factor in the growth through 2016 of the private equity and venture capital market in New Zealand. A new report looks at this growth and concludes that fund-raising activity there has reached a milestone, hitting again a levels not seen sinceRead More


Lawsuit in California, Survey in Europe: On ETF Managers and Investors

Jun 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Liquid Alternative Investiments, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

Late last year a California state court found that the plaintiffs in a class action suit stated a cause of action when they alleged that the defendant, iShares Trust, had failed to disclose the material risk of using market or stop loss orders in connection with ETFs. This spring theRead More


BIS Numbers and the Market for Forex NDFs

Jun 1st, 2017 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, Business News, Finance & Economics, Forex, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

A little over a year ago, the Bank for International Settlements announced its 11th Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and Over the Counter Derivatives Market Activity. In recent days, Pragma Securities has referenced those BIS numbers in explaining the market for its latest service, an expansion of PragmaRead More


How Do They Get Those Non-Correlated Returns?

May 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Commodities, Due Diligence Process, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added, Risk Management & Operations

In a recent paper Mark Shore, of Shore Capital Management, has discussed overlaying of strategies in managed futures, saying that it is something he covers in his course on managed futures at DePaul, but that in general it “is not discussed as much as it should be.” Behind that question,Read More


Broad Commodities: Value, Inflation, Implementation

May 29th, 2017 | Filed under: Commodities, ETFs, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

ETF Securities (US) LLC, a New York-based asset manager and manufacturer of ETP’s (Exchange Traded Products),” has issued a white paper written by its Director, Investment Strategy, (Maxwell Gold), on “broad commodities,” that is, on the use of a broad basket of commodities, as a way of allowing an investor’sRead More


Marketplace Lending: Just Because I’m Disruptive Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Be Friends!

May 23rd, 2017 | Filed under: Emerging Alternative Investments, Microfinance, Newly Added, Other Issues in Private Investments, Other Topics in A.I., Private Investments

Mark Shore, chief research officer of Shore Capital Research, and an adjunct professor at DePaul University, has prepared an “overview” of marketplace lending for institutional investors and wealth managers. The practice under discussion is also known as peer-to-peer, or even in these character economizing days as P2P, lending. Shore explainsRead More


Evidence that Sovereign Wealth Funds Mitigate the Agency Problem

May 21st, 2017 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

Ever since the 1930s, scholars have discussed the “agency problem” built into the structure of publicly owned corporations. This was a theme of Ronald Coase’s landmark article, “The nature of the firm” in 1937. Shareholders presumably want a company managed in a way that maximizes their – the shareholders’ –Read More


First Quarter: An Industry Recovers From a Dry Spell

May 18th, 2017 | Filed under: Hedge Funds, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry, The A.I. Industry

Preqin’s review of the hedge fund space in the first quarter of 2017 describes the quarter as a time of “return to form” after a dry spell. Two thirds of the investors interviewed by Preqin at the end of 2016 had said that their hedge fund investments had failed toRead More


Making a Case: Divestiture is the Wrong Tool Re Climate Risk

May 17th, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., SRI and Clean Energy

Sarah Bernstein, of the Pension Consulting Alliance, has prepared a discussion paper for the benefit of the Vermont Pension Investment Committee, on climate risk divestment.  Specifically, Bernstein wrote in reply to a request from the VPIC to examine three divestment tracks of common intent but differing levels of generality:  thermalRead More


The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem: A New Benchmark Study

May 16th, 2017 | Filed under: Currencies, Digital currencies, Emerging Alternative Investments, Finance & Economics, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., The Global Economy & Currencies

It is clear by now to even the most hardened skeptic that cryptocurrency, the class of assets of which bitcoin is the paradigm, is much more than a passing fad. Yes, the field may once have been too closely associated with survivalists, cranks, and bit players in the story ofRead More


State Pensions and Complex Investments

May 14th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

A recent report from the PEW charitable trusts discusses the degree to which the pension funds of the states of the United States are increasing their use of “complex investments.” It also speaks to the consequences of this move. The term “complex investments” is used here to describe any departureRead More


Real Assets and Environmental/Social Impacts

May 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Alternative energy, Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Real Assets, SRI and Clean Energy

It’s an old debate: does socially responsible investing under its variations (including “impact investing”) come at a cost in terms of risk-adjusted performance? Or does it actually add a dividend, so that one does well by doing good? Or are impact and non-impact investing in otherwise comparable assets on aRead More


Highlights in the Growth of Farmland Funds

May 9th, 2017 | Filed under: Agriculture, Farmland, Natural Resources and Land, Newly Added, Real Assets

Highquest Partners and a product strategist for timber and agriculture at GMO LLC (Julie Koeninger) have collaborated on a white paper on the history of farmland investment, at its heart the story, first, of how farmland has grown (since the late 1980s and the rebound from the farm crisis earlierRead More


SWFs: Growth Slows but Continues

May 4th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Preqin’s new Sovereign Wealth Fund Review makes the point that total assets under the management of SWFs continue to grow, but the rate of growth is notably slowing. This graph, measuring in US$ trillions, illustrates the growth trend since the financial crisis. Although the space grew by $.76 trillion betweenRead More


ESG Concerns Have Multi-Factored Impact on Performance

May 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., SRI and Clean Energy

The Cornerstone Capital Group, in a new white paper, looks at some of the specific interactions between ESG and investment factors. The paper, by Michael Geraghty, a global equity strategist for Cornerstone,  begins with a review of five of the factors most thoroughly studied in academia: value, the capture ofRead More


Longevity Risk Transfer Markets: Limits to Growth

Apr 30th, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

It was a fairly routine item about an accomplished executive changing jobs in the asset management industry, but it caught my eye. A March 2017 news item said that Andrew Reid, until recently the head of corporate pension origination at Deutsche Bank, had left that post to work with InsightRead More


Risk Management Isn’t Just Fund Selection

Apr 27th, 2017 | Filed under: Due Diligence Process, Newly Added, Private Equity, Private Investments, Risk Management & Operations

New Strategies for Risk Management in Private Equity, a new book from Private Equity International, is an anthology of papers on the titular subject. It is edited by Dr. Ivan Herger to offer investors in PE new perspectives on the field. Herger, a managing director at Capital Dynamics, has aRead More


Generation Two Liquid Alternatives

Apr 25th, 2017 | Filed under: Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry

Beachhead Capital Management has published a white paper on what it calls the “second generation of liquid alternatives.” To begin at the beginning, “liquid alternatives” are investment products, available to retail investors, for example through mutual funds or ETFs, which are designed to provide the diversification and absolute-return benefits typicallyRead More