Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Preparing for Generation D

They are 75 million strong.  They hold nearly $27 trillion in assets.  When it comes to investing, they are active, with higher levels of income.  And they’re usually well-educated.  Accenture calls them “Generation D,” because what sets this group apart is their “deeply digital lifestyle.”

Theirs is a demographic based on behavior, not by age.  Accenture stumbled upon Generation D last summer while conducting a survey of current and future investors.  The group is a hybrid, made up of “Skeptical Millennials,” “Jaded Gen-Xers,” and “Trusting Boomers.”  The common thread is that “Gen D members typically use multiple devices in a given week to manage financial accounts, look up investment information, and pay bills.”  They use social media, and they do their own investment due diligence on the Internet.  Accenture says Generation D is a “vitally important group of investors.”

That’s the good news.  The bad news is the conclusion of another Accenture survey conducted at the same time – financial advisers aren’t reaching these investors.  They need to remedy this neglect by using online educational tools and resources to connect with Gen D, and integrate social media into their overall communications strategy.

But how important really is social media to building a financial advisory practice?  Just ask Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook.  Hughes was the one who designed Barack Obama’s digital strategy for his first election campaign.  Obama’s use of social networking, podcasting, and mobile messaging helped win him the White House.

One of the worst casualties of the financial crisis was the erosion of trust between investors and their financial advisors.  Engaging Generation D on digital platforms is a golden opportunity for advisors to repair the rift, and reap the rewards.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is Regulation Keeping You Up At Night?

News outlets have been filled with articles on the settlement that hedge fund legend Steve Cohen recently reached with the SEC. The settlement which has been called historic by the likes of USA Today is just another example of the regulators push to go after “the bad guys” in wake of the Madoff fraud back in 2008.

Has Wall Street or better yet the hedge fund industry fallen off a cliff or is this just another example of things to come in this area of the capital markets?

It is clear that going after bad guys is something the SEC is focused on. There has not been a lack of headlines about funds that have done wrong by the markets.

Be that as it may, the irony is that the media never tries to find the “inside information” of what Hedge Funds have to do to comply with SEC guidelines. 

The hedge fund industry is constantly evolving both onshore and off, working to create and implement better systems, policies and procedures to comply with the ever changing regulation landscape. A recently published study by Credit Suisse found that hedge fund investors believe that constant regulatory constraints is one of the biggest threats to the industry.

In summary, the Hedge Fund industry is clearly listening to both the regulators and the investors but implementation and adoption of policies and procedures takes time. The question is… will it be fast enough for the regulators?

-The IIR Alternatives Team
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Is now the time to invest in Africa?

Africa seems to be the new darling of the emerging market managers who are looking for higher returns for their investment portfolio.

The demographics sound impressive:
  • Africa's population has rapidly increased over the last 40 years, and consequently, it is relatively young. In some African states, half or more of the population is under 25 years of age.
  • According to McKinsey & Associates, household consumption in Africa is now higher than India or Russia and is expected to continue to grow.
  • Africa is vast- 54 countries and 29 stock exchanges and different regions present different opportunities.
Original Photo:

 European investors have been investing in Africa with much success over the last decade and now it seems that US pensions, endowments and foundations are starting to pay attention as well. There are many ways to access this market including private equity, publicly traded stocks, as well as direct plays in natural resources and infrastructure. However, investing in Africa is not for the faint of heart. The news headlines are filled with negative stories about violence and political instability. Here are some recent articles about this opportunity:

Africa: the final investment frontier? March 4, 2013

Is Investing in Africa a good bet? January 24, 2013

Follow the Fixer February 22, 2013

Africa Ripe for Investment December 5, 2012

We are currently researching the African market. Please let us know your thoughts by emailing us at

-The IIR Alternatives Team
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