The economic conditions being shaped during 2016 could be the vanguard of the investment environment for the years to come and there is certainly one winner: alternative investments. Over the last decade, the industry has grown exponentially, with alternative funds managing currently near $10 trillion, with huge demand being originated from the U.S. and European investors. There is a variety of strategies/asset classes within the alternative investment spectrum from hedge funds and private equity to stamp, comic books and classic car collection, but this perspective’s focus is on institutional quality alternative investments and specifically hedge funds, private equity and private debt comprising the largest piece of the spectrum.
The role of alternative investments in the financial and social ecosystem is multidimensional, which amplifies their importance and attracts further attention from investors and authorities. First of all, the plethora and diversity of strategies allows investors to gain their desired exposure, adding liquidity to both financial and real-world markets. Alternative managers are focused on innovation and designing new, unique and sometimes complex trading/investment strategies, which provide institutional investors with alternative, diversified and uncorrelated to traditional investments source of alpha. Investing in alternative managers requires expertise in risk management, thorough knowledge and deep understanding of alternative investments due to their complexity in nature, including both strategy and structure.
Sophistication within alternative investments has developed providing a variety of access possibilities for institutional investors across the corporate capital stack from traded debt in high yield bonds, collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) to more illiquid private debt strategies of levered loans, direct lending, and private equity featuring buyout and secondaries.