This week, I stopped in at consultancy firms, multi-family offices and global private banks on the hunt for liquid alternative managers. But top talent is proving hard to come by.
My first meeting of the day was with Mark Andersen at Callan Associates, a $2 trillion consultancy firm. Andersen is part of Callan's $22 billion discretionary asset management unit, called the trust advisory group, where he is responsible for asset allocation, manager structure and investment research for discretionary portfolios.
He also supports firm-wide research on liquid alternatives, multi-asset and real assets investments. A focus for Callan this year is what to do in the multi-asset world. The team has seen asset flows into multi-asset products and is continuing to refine its data, manager knowledge and categorization of the universe.
This has been a focus for Andersen (pictured) for a long time and for Callan more broadly over the past few years, as the institutional world is focusing more on liquid alternatives and multi-asset strategies. Andersen began researching liquid alternatives post-2008, after hedge funds decided to offer mutual fund products and provide more liquidity than their limited partnership solutions.
Since then, Andersen believes the manager universe has matured and there are significantly more institutional products out there as well as multi-asset solutions. Post-2008, Andersen has seen a proliferation of multi-asset products targeted at institutions, Callan client interest and incremental asset flows.
After a quick visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, I jumped back on the trolley to Wells Fargo to meet Sam Kirkland.
Kirkland is a research director and senior vice-president within global manager research (GMR), a division of Wells Fargo Investment Institute. The GMR team selects and oversees the third-party money managers used throughout Wells Fargo’s brokerage, wealth management, Abbot Downing and institutional retirement businesses.
In his role, Kirkland serves as the lead for passive strategies, and covers liquid alternative and real asset strategies. He also manages the team’s research support group, which oversees advanced analytics, quantitative processes, technology and tools and data collection. At the moment, the GMR team is looking for liquid alternatives that look more like non-liquid alternatives.
‘Those are hard to find in the event-driven and relative value categories,’ Kirkland (pictured above) said. In the passive space, the team has a newly designed quant process to focus due diligence around the factors that are unique and more relevant to a passive investment management process.
My last meeting of the day was with Thomas Abramo at Abbot Downing.
Abramo (pictured above) is a portfolio manager in the asset management division at the $39 billion multi-family office. Abbot Downing’s San Francisco office consists of six dedicated investment professionals working closely with select clients on highly customized investment solutions across a broad spectrum of asset classes. Abramo serves as a member of the Abbot Downing themes and global fixed income strategy teams seeking traditional and alternative investment opportunities globally.
The team offers clients access to opportunistic private capital and market investments not widely available to the broader public.
My name is Amelia Garland and I am a relationship manager at Citywire. My aim is simple: to get to know professional buyers across the US and engage with heads of manager due diligence, directors of investments and anyone who selects third-party products for their platform.
I am constantly on the road, if you would like me to pay you a visit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com or give me a ring at 646 532 6301.
Don’t forget to tweet @GarlandGoesWest if you would like me to visit your city!