There have been some regulatory changes recently, impacting the alternative investment sector of the financial industry. The custody rule, which is there to protect investors, has been a significant factor in recent years, according to JP Dahdah, CEO of Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans. During the recession, stories similar to that of Bernie Maddof, where the SEC got a lot of “egg on their face” with questions being asked oversight and if they were doing their job correctly in order to prevent such fraudulent activity by investment issuers. There has been more cost associated with the increased compliance and it’s forced any advisors to have an appetite and are comfortable in placing their clients’ assets into alternatives, to really take a hard look at companies like Vantage, that serve as a custodian that is operated separately from the broker dealer or investment advisor. This allows them to exempt themselves from any surprise examinations and reporting based on the current compliance rules, Dahdah explains.
The registered investment advisors are having to keep up with these regulatory changes and have their operation adapt to the new rules in order to stay competitive. The product mix has become more broad as a result and as such, investment advisors are looking at alternatives in order to differentiate themselves. High net-worth individuals have an appetite for alternative investments and want advisors to help them identify unique opportunities in the marketplace, Dahdah says. In listening to their clients, investment advisors have learned this and as such, are having to do their homework in order to stay compliant and at the same time, are benefiting from the fact that alternative investments have come to the surface right now, with many start-up’s “coming out of the dark.”
Through crowdfunding and online investing portals, firms are able to gain access through alternative investing product offerings. One of the biggest trends right now is financial technology start-up’s, according to Dahdah. There has been a huge surge of companies offering a comprehensive array of opportunities in alternative investments for both registered investment advisors and broker dealers, as well as for the accredited investors.
Dahdah says it’s important to keep in mind that these are start-up’s, with people looking to monetize on creating an online marketplace, and there still hasn’t been a lot of online transactional flow through these portals. He attributes this to a lot of skepticism as it relates to these new portals however, people are watching and paying attention that this might be an interesting shift for Americans looking for alternative ways to build wealth. Dahdah believes that within time, this sector of alternative investing will be purchased through these portals at a high volume. He says that “we’re at a very unique and exciting time in the alternative investing industry,” as people gain more confidence in placing dollars in these online portals.
JP Dahdah is the CEO at Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans and spoke with Alternative Investing News providing online alternative investing video news content. Alternative Investing News is a featured network of Sequence Media Group. This video was brought to you by Vantage Self-Directed Retirement Plans.