Alternative Investments Forum

May 5, 2016 | New York
The Yale Club
50 Vanderbilt Ave, NY

John Bergamini
, Senior Managing Director, Mariner Investment Group
Kirk Strawn, Director of Intermediary Sales, Altegris

Special Luncheon Speaker
Peter Cohen, 
Chief Executive Officer of Cowen Group

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For the past nine years, the MMI Alternative Investments Forum has provided a unique setting for asset managers and sponsor firms to connect with leaders from the alternatives space and explore the unique opportunities and challenges that alts present. With the backdrop of a challenging, low-yield market environment, this year's Forum promises to be another don't-miss event. Be part of the conversation on May 5th in New York as senior executives from wirehouses, IBDs, banks, and RIAs join their counterparts from the arenas of private equity, hedge funds, real estate, and MLPs to discuss creating strategies and solutions to meet the changing needs of advisors and clients.

Additional Information


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Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45AM – 9:00AM
Welcome and Opening Remarks
John Bergamini
, Senior Managing Director, Mariner Investment Group
Kirk Strawn, Director of Intermediary Sales, Altegris

9:00AM – 9:15AM
Industry Update

For the fifth consecutive year, MMI and Dover Financial Research will publish a report examining the distribution of traditional and liquid alternative investments through wirehouse firms. This session will preview some of the report’s key findings, providing background and context for the day’s sessions. Topics to be addressed:

  • Advisor usage: Differences in how fee-based and commission-based advisors use alts 
  • Flow patterns: Recent winners and losers by product, structure and strategy
  • The search for enhanced yield: How credit strategies are driving demand for LBOs, mezzanine debt, private real estate, MLPs, and REITs
  • Hedge funds: The accelerating shift from FOF to single-manager hedge funds

Jean Sullivan, Principal, Dover Financial Research
Robert Martorana, Director of Research, Dover Financial Research

9:15AM – 10:15AM
Wirehouse Channel Perspective: Future Challenges and Managing Expectations

With a year that has certainly been challenging for most alternative strategies as a backdrop, this panel of wirehouse executives will offer perspective on a broad range of topics:

  • Is the alts needle moving forward in this environment?
  • Have liquid alts funds lived up to their expectations?
  • Which products and strategies have worked, where the flows have gone, what isn’t selling, and the structures resonating the most with advisors and their clients
  • What managers need to do to get shelf space, which strategies wirehouses are looking to add over the next year, and whether smaller boutique firms or big names have the edge
  • Have advisor and investor education improved over the last few years? What do firms and advisors need to do to help investors make more informed decisions about using alts?
  • What do firms expect from managers in terms of marketing support?

Moderator: John Barbo, Global Head of Bank Platforms, Apollo Global Management

Nancy Fahmy
, Managing Director, Head of Alternative Investments, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Frank Famiglietti, Managing Director, Head of Distribution for Alternative Investments, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Jerry Pascucci, Managing Director, Head of Alternative Investments, Wealth Management Americas, UBS Financial Services

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

10:30AM – 11:30AM
RIA/IBD/Bank Channel: The Next Chapter

Now more than ever, true alternative strategies are being made available to high-net-worth, accredited investors via innovative product structures. As a result, RIAs, IBDs, and banks are building out robust offerings to meet the demand of this investor demographic, providing them with unprecedented access to high-quality, direct investments at lower minimums and with ease of access and administration. This panel will discuss how they are using alts to meet the challenges of diversification and fulfill client-specific return, risk, and income goals. Topics include:

  • The positioning of alternatives at the panelists’ respective firms
  • How high-net-worth demand for alts was met in the past and the current trend toward direct investing
  • Views on the emerging product structures/access solutions now available
  • High priority challenges to be addressed

Moderator: Albert Thompson, Director of Capital, Ascendant Capital

Don Calcagni, Chief Investment Officer, Mercer Advisors
Mark Hoffman, Vice President, Head of Alternative Investments, PNC Asset Management
Rohit Vohra, Senior Product Manager, Global Alternative Investments, RBC Wealth Management

11:30AM – 12:30PM
Operating in a Low Yield Environment

In an environment of “lower for longer,” more and more advisors are turning to alternative product structures and income sources to meet clients’ income needs. But traditional sources of income such as high-yield bonds and MLPs are likely to carry greater risk in 2016 than they have historically. This expert panel will review how both product manufacturers and distributors are responding to the demand for more income-oriented strategies. Discussion topics include:

  • How product manufacturers are stepping up through new product creation
  • The packaging and delivery of alternative strategies by financial intermediaries
  • The risks associated with enhanced income generation strategies

Moderator: Kirk Strawn, Director of Intermediary Sales, Altegris

James Bode
, Senior Vice President, Manager of Alternative Investments, BOK Financial
Christopher Dillon, Portfolio Manager, Concordia
Robert Hoffman, Executive Director, Fund Strategy, Franklin Square Capital Partners

12:30PM – 1:30PM
Luncheon with Keynote Speaker
Peter A. Cohen
, Chairman & CEO, Cowen Group, Inc.

Introduction by:
Bill Turchyn
, Partner, Mariner Investment Group

1:30PM – 2:30PM
Fitting Alternatives into Goals- and Outcomes-Based Wealth Management
Investors are redefining investment success as successfully achieving lifetime goals while accepting appropriate levels of risk rather than beating the market and arbitrary benchmarks. Advisors and asset managers are in turn gravitating to outcomes-based solutions that incorporate alternatives and risk-management strategies. The result is new investment opportunities and challenges for investment managers, advisors, and clients alike. This panel of experts will discuss: 

  • Drivers for – and obstacles to – the adoption of outcomes-based strategies
  • The positives and negatives with respect to the use of alternatives in asset allocation, outcomes-based solutions, and product manufacturing 
  • The blurring of boundaries between hedge funds, traditional asset managers, financial intermediaries, and advisors
  • Platform acceptance, market expectations, and challenges ahead

Moderator: Mike Dieschbourg, Senior Vice President, Alternatives/Managed Risk Group, Federated Investors
Zachary Brown
, Portfolio Manager, Portfolio Management Group, Milliman Financial Risk Management, LLC
Lisa Shalett, Head of Investment and Portfolio Strategies, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Jack Sharry, Executive Vice President, Strategic Development, LifeYield, LLC 

2:30PM – 2:45PM
Refreshment and Networking Break

2:45PM – 3:45PM
The Merits and Risks of Packaged Alternative Products

This session will address the opportunities for and the merits of packaged alternative products as well as their risks. The panel will set the stage by framing the size of the market and the structures currently available and then evaluate the space from “buy side to sell side” and “active to passive.” The discussion will explore:

  • The challenges of manufacturing packaged alternative products
  • Their platform acceptance, market expectations, and educational challenges
  • Which strategies will work in the new “packaged” environment
  • The lessons that can be learned from the experience of other firms

Moderator: Bradley W. Sussman, Managing Director, Head of Strategy and Platform Management, Ramius
Sal J. Bruno, Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President, IndexIQ
John T. Moore, Head of Alternatives – GFIG, Franklin Templeton K2
Robert Geitz, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Tanya Ghaleb-Harter, Director of Alternative Investments, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

3:45PM – 4:45PM
Private Equity Perspective: Where We've Been and Where We’re Headed

This session focuses on newer registered structures that give additional investors beyond qualified purchasers the opportunity to gain exposure to less liquid PE and credit strategies. These newer structures have lower accreditation standards and lower minimum investment requirements while providing the convenience of 1099 tax reporting. The panelists will compare a range of structures and analyze their respective advantages and limitations. They will also offer their views on perceived investor demand for these types of structures and on inclusion of PE products in retirement accounts.

Moderator: Jared Cornell, Director of Alternative Investments, Charles Schwab
Michael Diamond
, Product Manager, Alternative Investments, Fidelity Investments

Mike Gaviser, Managing Director, KKR
Jeff Jacob, Founding Principal & CIO, Archview Investment Group
Ryan Levitt, Partner, Pomona Capital

Closing Remarks & Adjournment

Registration Fees

The registraton fee for this event is $650.00.

Cancellations: No refunds will be granted for cancellations after 5:00pm ET on Friday, April 22nd. Substitutions are permitted. Please notify MMI at (202) 822-4949.

To encourage an interactive program, attendance will be limited to 100 registrants. No press will attend.


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

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

Fees & Billing:
(202) 822-4949

Sponsorship Opportunities:
Linda Pierre -
(202) 236-0935

Event Updates