Alternative Investments Program

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“One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you don’t know.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

Alternative investments have been surging in popularity, enticing both hedge funds and traditional mutual fund companies to launch ‘liquid’ versions for the retail marketplace. Their popularity, however, is matched by a level of confusion regarding what constitutes an alternative investment.   Alternatives have been defined as everything other than stocks, bonds or cash. With such a broad definition, it’s no surprise that advisors have been cautious in their approach to using these products in client portfolios.

At the same time, regulators are focused on the education of both the advisor and the client, calling for heightened supervision and training for representatives on the sale of these more complex products. Product sponsors acknowledge the importance of education programs but, thus far, haven’t made much progress beyond white papers.

“With these things, it can be like giving a 6 year-old a circular saw”*

*FINRA Regulator in the Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2013 referring to liquid alternatives in the hands of retail investors.

The Alternative Investments program is a professional development program designed to build the knowledge and conversational skills necessary to utilize Alternative products effectively and promote them responsibly. This on-line program is approved for CE, including CFP® and includes diagnostic exams and management reporting tools. The program can also be customized, combining on-line and in-person instruction, creating an internal certification program that ensures the training is put into practice.

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What are the Selling Competencies for Advisors and Distributors?

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1. Differentiate between strategies

Not just between products using the same strategy.

2. Explain the risks in the various strategies

Including ‘off balance sheet’ and asymmetric ‘pay-off’ risks.

3. Set a clear performance expectation

Under different market environments.

4. Provide insights into portfolio construction

Including the portfolio level impact of adding your strategy.

Our guiding philosophy is that product knowledge alone, without insight and a focus on outcomes, is insufficient to meet the demands of today’s sale.

The Alternative Investments Quiz

This quiz, developed in partnership between Van Etten Consulting and Greene Consulting, is designed to provide you with personal insights on your knowledge regarding alternative investments, hedge funds, liquid alternatives and the trading strategies used in these vehicles. Your individual results will remain anonymous but will provide you with important feedback, not only your knowledge, but also your confidence in the topics tested.

The average results from the Advanced Alternative Investments Quiz through May 2016.

  • Confidence Level 58%
  • Raw Score 42%
  • Confidence-Weighted Score 49%

Let's Talk

We’d value the opportunity to have a discussion with you. Best wishes for 2017!