Alternative Investments Forum

May 13, 2015 | New York, NY
Thomson Reuters, New York


John Bergamini
Senior Managing Director, 
Mariner Investment Group

Kirk Strawn
National Director of Intermediary Sales, 
Altegris Investments

The Keys to Sucess

2015 Forum Partner

Thomson Reuters

Additional Information


MMI Alternative Investments Forum
Thomson Reuters
3 Times Square, New York, NY
May 13, 2015

Download PDF Agenda

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:15AM – 8:30AM               
Welcome and Opening Remarks
John Bergamini, Senior Managing Director, Mariner Investment Group
Kirk Strawn, National Director of Intermediary Sales, Altegris Investments

8:30AM – 9:15AM               
Keynote Address
Why Politics Matter: Their Impact on the Markets Has Never Been Greater
Anthony Scaramucci, Co-Managing Partner and Founder of SkyBridge Capital, a global investment firm with approximately $13 billion in assets under management and advisement as of February 28, 2015, will explain why the impact of politics on the market and asset allocation has never been greater. While the U.S. is on a growth path stronger than that of the rest of the world, the Fed remains extremely concerned about asset prices and their correlation to Fed policy. The labor market and wage growth have only improved slightly and the world is battling deflation. Mr. Scaramucci will address how these factors and other policies from Washington are impacting the financial markets and – in an election year – what should be top of mind for investors. 

Anthony Scaramucci, Co-Managing Partner & Founder, SkyBridge Capital

9:15AM – 10:15AM             
Wirehouse Perspective: Moving the Needle on Alternatives
As home office research teams continue to recommend allocations to alternatives of 10%, 15% and even 20%, the major wirehouses all seem to be facing similar challenges to raising the allocation needle – properly educating both advisors and clients, convincing them to look beyond recent favorable equity market returns, overcoming the inertia of advisors wedded to existing portfolio models, and making sure the right product mix is on the shelf. Clearly, with wirehouse alternatives allocations stuck at 4% to 5% and ample product in the marketplace, there is plenty of opportunity for growth – and industry experts are, in fact, predicting steady growth over the next three to five years. Against this backdrop, this panel examines how wirehouses are responding to the hurdles they face, how the landscape has changed in the past year, and the steps needed to drive future growth. Among the topics to be covered:

  • the strategies different firms are using to boost alternatives adoption,
  • the optimal role alternative asset managers can play in the advisor/investor education process and in aiding a sponsor firm’s efforts to expand advisor adoption,
  • the importance of moving the investment conversation away from a purely quantitative and style-box approach to more of an outcomes framework,
  • beefing up alternative offerings in advisory program menus by incorporating options like standalone liquid alternative sleeves within a UMA platform,
  • looking beyond an up market – tactics for driving home the benefits of alternatives to limit volatility, manage downside risk, and serve as a possible fixed income substitute, and
  • taking steps to bring alternatives into the mainstream – streamlining the research process across traditional and alternative investment research teams.

Moderator: Paul M. Weisenfeld, Partner, Perella Weinberg Partners

Keith Glenfield, Head of Alternative Investments Group, Merrill Lynch
Frank Famiglietti, Head of Distribution for Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management 
Jerry Pascucci, Head of Alternative Investments, U.S., UBS Financial Services
Tracy Wills-Zapata, Director of Alternative Investment Consulting, Wells Fargo & Company

10:15AM – 10:30AM                       
Refreshment and Networking Break 

10:30AM – 11:30AM                       
Regionals, Independents, Banks and RIAs: An Update on Alternative Investments
As predicted in MMI’s 2014 edition of Distribution of Alternative Investments through Wirehouses, the rapid growth in alternative investments continues, and it does so despite strong U.S. equity markets and surprisingly resilient bond markets. This panel – in addition to providing a channel-by-channel update on the adoption of alternatives and how they are currently being utilized in the context of total portfolio construction – will offer a forward-looking assessment of where alternatives are headed in terms of both challenges and opportunities. Given the various definitions of alternatives that exist, part of the discussion will focus on what constitutes a “true alternative investment,” along with such topics as liquid vs. non-liquid alts, portfolio placement, and the pros and cons of adopting a “solutions” vs. product approach to alternatives. Among specific topics to be covered are:

  • whether to actively diversify alternative exposures or to randomly or selectively concentrate in single strategies,
  • the importance of advisor, client and prospect education – approaches to discussing the concepts of leverage, liquidity, fees, and transparency, and
  • positioning options for both the retail and institutional markets.

Moderator: Don Robinson, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Chief Investment Officer, Palladiem LLC

Myrna Rivera, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Consultiva Internacional Inc.
Chris Umscheid, Director, Head of Hedge Fund Research Deutsche Bank Securities
Bill Marr, Senior Managing Director, Head of Liquid Alternative Investments, State Street Global Advisors
Robert Pettman, Executive Vice President, Product Management Investment and Planning Solutions, LPL Financial 

11:30AM – 12:30PM            
Private Equity: A New Diversification Option for the Mass Affluent? 
Seeking ways to diversify their clients’ portfolios beyond traditional asset allocations, advisors are increasingly turning to private equity investments as one component of the solution. As demand has grown, so too has the universe of choice in a space that has expanded to include buyout, venture, growth equity, infrastructure, mezzanine, special situation, and distressed funds. Another important factor in the equation is the shift in offering formats from the traditional 3(c)(7) private placement format to include registered investment companies and other legal structures. This panel of leading private equity managers and consultants will discuss the opportunity set they see in delivering their return streams to the mass affluent and address the particular challenges that must be overcome to ensure successful outcomes for both advisors and end clients.

Moderator: Mark Maruszewski, Partner, StepStone Group

Paul M. Weisenfeld, Partner, Perella Weinberg Partners
Art Bushonville, Founder and CEO, Delaware Street Capital
Jeffrey Holland, Managing Director, Head of Private Client Group, The Carlyle Group
Alisa Wood, Partner, KKR

12:30PM – 1:30PM              
Lunch with Keynote Speaker
Real World Challenges to Those Model Alternatives Allocations
Bob Rice, Managing Partner, Tangent Capital Partners

Bob will address the hurdles, objections, and problems that have limited portfolio allocations to alternatives to well below the thresholds prescribed by many firms – and how to address them.  Drawing from extensive in-person interactions around the country on the topic, he will highlight various themes that motivate clients to adopt, and advisors to recommend, alternatives more aggressively. Bob will also provide a sneak peak at a new investment solution for illiquid asset classes likely to come to market later this year. 

1:30PM – 2:15PM                
Liquid Alts in the Regulatory Crosshairs
After having openly expressed their concerns about the rapid growth of retail liquid alternatives, both the SEC and FINRA have placed them on their examination priority lists for 2015. Stated areas of focus include:

  • for fund managers: liquidity, leverage, valuation, investment allocations, and governance
  • for financial intermediaries: fee arrangements, improper or misleading sales practices, suitability, and supervision

This executive briefing session will review the major focus areas and the most important business implications for investment managers and sponsor firms – both current participants in the liquid alternatives marketplace and those thinking of entering the space.

Steve Stone, Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Christine Lombardo, Associate, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius 

2:15PM – 2:30PM                
Refreshment and Networking Break

2:30PM – 3:00PM                
The Small Business Investment Company: What are the Opportunities? 
What are the business opportunities for asset managers and sponsor firms with the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)?  The SBIC is a growth capital program with roughly $24 billion of assets under management spread across ~300 private-public partnerships.  Comprised of private equity, venture capital and structured lending funds, it is one of the largest pools of capital focused on investing in American small businesses.  With authorization to invest $4 billion annually, the program operates at a zero-subsidy cost to the American taxpayer.  Further development of SBIC’s $1 billion Impact Investment Fund and Early Stage Initiative are key to enhance capital flows to where investment gaps are widest. Additionally, impact investing is one of the fastest growing segments in the asset management industry.  

Topics which will be discussed:

  • How does the Small Business Investment Company work in the context of private equity/venture/direct lending and the future opportunity set?
  • The opportunity in Impact Investing and how the $1 billion SBIC Impact Investment Fund is approaching the market.
  • What are the asset manager success stories that have stemmed out of the SBIC program and what are common mistakes applicants make?

Javier Saade, Associate Administrator, Office of Investment and Innovation, US Small Business Administration 

3:00PM – 4:00PM                 

Making the Alts Decision: Three Advisors, Three Different Points of View
This advisor panel explores the pros and cons of using alternative investments from several different perspectives and how they should or should not be employed in client portfolios. As the industry growth statistics attest, there is no question that alternatives are increasingly becoming part of the advisor tool kit, but the advent of liquid alternatives and proliferation of new product choices has added additional layers of complexity to an already difficult decision making process. Among the topics the panel will discuss:  

  • The basic decision – what to consider when trying to decide whether to use alts or not.
  • Which strategies and vehicles make the most sense for which specific purposes?
  • Where do alternatives fit in an outcomes-oriented approach to asset allocation and portfolio risk management?
  • Timing and sourcing – what are the important factors in judging when to integrate alternatives into a portfolio and where should the allocation come from?
  • What are advisors looking for from providers?

Moderator: Robert Jenkins, Global Head of Research, Lipper

Steve Figliozzi, Private Wealth Advisor, The Astorino Financial Group
Richard A. Fitzburgh, Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, Senior Consulting Group, CFM Investment Group, RBC Wealth Management
Scott C. Wilson, Managing Director, Private Wealth Advisor, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management

Closing Remarks & Adjournment


Attendee Registration:
Nia Edwards -
(202) 822-4949

Speaker Registration:
Laura Payne -
(202) 822-4949

Fees & Billing:
Michelle Marsh -
(202) 822-4949

Registration Fees

The registraton fee for this event is $500.00.

Cancellations: No refunds will be granted for cancellations after 5:00pm ET on Friday, May 1st. Substitutions are permitted. Please notify MMI at (202) 822-4949.