Category Archives: Alternative Investment Industry

Wealth Engineering Deepens Its Exclusive Partnership With AIX

Wealth Engineering Deepens Its Exclusive Partnership With AIX

November 8, 2021 | Alternative Investment Exchange

The Wealth Engineering Family of Companies (WE) and Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX) today announced that they have deepened their long term partnership with the renewal of AIX as the exclusive provider of its alternative investment ecosystem for the WE network of more than 2,100 wealth management firms encompassing 8,400+ wealth advisors.

“We are excited to deepen our partnership with AIX as part of our Consortium of Expert Sourcing Firms,” said Wealth Engineering CEO and Founder, Nick Gregory, ChWE, CEBA, ChFWA. “The AIX paperless, digital platform is a necessity when it comes to providing comprehensive wealth management. Wealth managers need an alternative investment experience that is personalized to support their unique needs and preferences. AIX is the only alternative investment platform that empowers wealth managers to control their product menu, support their respective brand and client experiences while authentically automating the alternative investment process front-to-back. Their national presence, expertise and unparalleled ‘exchange’ of alternative investment sponsors, transfer agents, custodians and fund administrators make their straight[1]through platform a natural fit for the wealth advisory firms that the WE Family of Companies consults with.”

AIX’s COO, Brad West, added, “We are honored to continue to be such a vital part of the WE Expert Sourcing Team. We designed the AIX technology platform to transform the alternative investment industry by enabling truly paperless straight-through processing, reducing compliance issues and other risks, and enhancing transparency. Our Platform seamlessly connects all parties; from wealth managers and intermediaries to asset managers and administrators. Wealth Managers can access our diverse portfolio of fund managers and products across every alternative investment structure.”

With this announcement, AIX continues as part of an arsenal of best-of-breed expert sourcing firms that provide a vast array of services to WE’s network of wealth management and accounting firms as well as investment and insurance advisors across the nation. The result is the fusion of advanced knowledge, experience, services, products, and technology with sound engineering principles to create a synchronized hub for family and business wealth building.

About AIX

Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX) is an end-to-end, truly paperless digital platform; purpose-built to improve the processes related to buying, owning, and selling alternative investments. The AIX alternative investment ecosystem reduces friction, mitigates risk, and creates value across all alternative investing stakeholder groups – wealth managers, asset managers, custodians, transfer agents, and fund administrators. By evolving beyond documents to make data the connective tissue between alternative investment players, AIX makes it easier to conduct business and accelerate industry growth. For more information, please visit aixplatform.com or linkedin.com/company/aix-alternative-investment-exchange.

About The Wealth Engineering Family of Companies: Over the past 40+ years, our dynamic family of companies has evolved into the Wealth Engineering Platform to provide a multi-disciplinary portfolio of situational consulting to 2,100+ wealth management, accounting, investment, insurance and law firms across the nation. In coordination with its consortium of independent expert sourcing firms, WE helps wealth advisors better harmonize with the wealth ecosystems of families and businesses through the organization’s WealthEngineering and OpenOption Practice Programs. WE helps wealth advisors fortify their value proposition by fusing new services, products and wealthtech into their firms, creating fresh revenue and profit silos while enhancing client acquisition and retention. WE is also the governing body and grantor of the Chartered Wealth Engineer (ChWE) professional designation. Learn more at: YourWEplatform.com grow@YourWEplatform.com 407.878.3520

Three key considerations for a successful turnaround

Three key considerations for a successful turnaround

August 6, 2021 | Ginny Housum

Ginny Housum, senior vice president and workout specialist at UMB Bank, was recently recognized by the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Minnesota for her work as trustee on a successful turnaround that included the stabilization and asset sale of a 90-unit senior care facility in Minnesota, which positioned the facility for long-term financial resiliency, and providing the town where the facility is located with a stable employer providing high quality of care to its vulnerable population.

With more than 25 years of experience and with a focus on municipal bond project financings, including continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and other senior housing issues, Ginny has accumulated a wealth of knowledge on how to support distressed debt and a successful turnaround. Below, she shares three key considerations when executing a successful turnaround.

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Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX) Partners with InvestX

Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX) Partners with InvestX

October 5, 2021 | Alternative Investment Exchange

Partnership reflects a commitment to innovative alliances that help push access to alternative investments to more broker-dealers

Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX), an alternative investment technology firm that makes it easier for wealth managers and fund sponsors to do business in alternatives, announced it has partnered with InvestX, a fund sponsor and marketplace that empowers broker-dealers and advisors to invest and trade in pre-IPO giants through its state of the art electronic trading platform, InvestX GEM.

Through the partnership, AIX will enable InvestX to offer broker-dealers and advisors an all-digital investing experience for their special purpose vehicles (SPVs) onboarding. And for firms that are interested in further exploring SPV opportunities, the InvestX GEM platform is a secondary market for SPVs, exclusively for broker-dealers.

“We believe in creating a better experience for all types of alternative investment vehicles,” explained Joseph P. Ujobai, CEO of AIX. “We are excited to partner with InvestX to make investing in SPVs easier for advisors and their clients, and the opportunity to digitize the full lifecycle of owning and selling these products.”

AIX offers a technology solution that plugs into wealth managers’ and fund sponsors’ existing alts business, working behind the scenes to turn even the most complex and cumbersome investing experience into an easy one.

“We are excited to be partnering with AIX,” said Brian Schaeffer, Managing Director of InvestX. “AIX’s innovation and commitment to the alternative asset class is a great complement to the InvestX mission of democratizing the Pre-IPO asset class, by providing broker dealers with access to world class Pre-IPO Giants.”

With decades of experience and industry expertise in the private market sector, InvestX navigates the complexities of transacting in the private markets for its clients. InvestX GEM was designed to deliver broader access, liquidity, and innovation through real-time information, price-discovery, and technology. InvestX GEM provides a secondary trading platform which allows investors to sell positions earlier than waiting for a private company to go public. The platform is a cloud-based solution that can be connected via a web-based login or a FIX protocol, which integrates directly with the back-end systems of broker dealers, further facilitating the electronic trading of private securities.

About InvestX:

Launched in 2014, InvestX empowers broker-dealers and their clients with access, liquidity and innovation to the private markets through investments in pre-IPO giants on its state-of-the-art platform, InvestX GEM. Sell-side firms are provided unbiased information and can participate in the private markets through a number of channels, including single-issuer SPVs and multi-issuer funds as well as block and SPV trading. InvestX is backed by leading institutional investors including Jefferies, Virtu and Canaccord Genuity.

If you are an institutional or accredited investor, please ask your salesperson or adviser for access to InvestX GEM investing opportunities.

For more information visit www.investx.com.

About AIX:

Alternative Investment Exchange (AIX) is an end-to-end digital platform purpose-built to improve the processes related to buying, owning, and selling alternative investments. AIX’s technology reduces friction, mitigates risk, and creates value across all alternative investing stakeholder groups – wealth managers, asset managers, custodians, transfer agents, and fund administrators. By evolving beyond documents to make data the connective tissue between alternative investment players, AIX makes it easier to conduct business and accelerate industry growth. For more information, please visit aixplatform.com or LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/aix-alternative-investment-exchange.

Media Contacts:

Maria Orlova
InvestX Capital
Maria.orlova@investx.com
(212) 390-9270

Mark Tordik Broadpath (for AIX)
mtordik@broadpathpr.com
(215) 644-6503

Automation and Alts: How Firms Use Automation to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Automation and Alts: How Firms Use Automation to Gain a Competitive Advantage

September 28, 2021 | James Sprow

A Blue Vault ALTSTECH Series Webinar September 9, 2021

Panelists:

Bill Robbins, CEO of WealthForge
Drew Jackson, President and CEO of Concorde Investment Services
James Brunger, Executive VP National Sales from Capital Square

These industry experts discussed the importance of using automation to scale their alternative investment business and how it helps them create a competitive advantage in the space.

Bill Robbins started out by introducing WealthForge’s straight-through processing platform for alternative investments called Altigo. Today they have over 80 broker dealer and RIA firms signed up and using the platform.

Drew Jackson at Concorde enjoys working directly with advisors and helping them maximize their business and grow deeper relationships with their clients. He believes that a continued focus on practice management and process improvements are keys to long term success in the industry. Concorde serves approximately 130 financial professionals specializing in alternative investments, in particular DSTs and real estate investments.

James Brunger of Capital Square, a national sponsor of tax-advantaged investments, in particular DSTs and 1031 Exchanges. They have about 115 total programs, including Opportunity Zones and a REIT focusing on multifamily assets in the Southeast US.

Stacy Chitty hosted the Webinar and started out by asking what straight-thru processing means to each of the panelists.

Bill Robbins gave a definition of straight-through processing that is a digital experience that automates what today are manual tasks, connecting each participant in the Altigo system to the data that they need rather than the paperwork that they need to do their jobs. It connects each participant to the data rather than the paperwork. It can facilitate not just the buying of alternative investments but also holding and selling those investments. It’s going to provide transparency at each step of the process by connecting each participant to the data and it’s going to foster innovation.

Drew Jackson says it really comes down to visibility, making it easier to process these transactions. There are a lot of additional facets of alternative investments that clients need to understand and doing it in a way that is automated saves so much time for advisors and clients. It takes what used to be an extremely manually-intensive process and makes it a lot faster, helping us with the resources that our advisors are using.

James Brunger says that fundamentally alternative investments are very complex. For Capital Square, Altigo takes a critical component and makes it as easy as possible to give the advisor more time to explore the investment itself, getting to know what they are investing in. It boils down to taking one of the most complex investments any investor is going to make and simplifies the process to allow more time to do the diligence and less time to do the paperwork involved.

Stacy asked what the growth in the DST market has revealed about the limitations of the industry. James Brunger answered that straight-through processing is the only way that the DST market can grow the anticipated three-fold growth rate. Without automation the industry cannot achieve the scalability necessary to handle the growth. They cannot possibly staff the foreseeable growth in the DST industry.

Drew Jackson sees the DST industry doing $8.5 billion this year. They must have the tools and systems to do this volume of business, they can’t possibly staff for that level of investments. Getting their sponsors on to systems that can do things as efficiently as possible makes it possible to do their volume of business.

Drew said they had a sense that 2021 would be a very strong year given the outcome of the election. They wanted to be able to scale up, so they are rolling out the Altigo system and they have a virtual assistant system to help the representatives work on client solutions rather than the paperwork. The more time they can be client-facing rather than spending time on paperwork, the better.

Bill Robbins sees the rapid growth in the DST market as a perfect microcosm that can only be possible as an industry if they are able to automate the systems. It could go from a $5 billion market to a $15 billion market and beyond. But it can’t be done the old fashioned way. The big opportunity is across the alternatives market. His firm is working to provide the tools that will facilitate that growth.

Stacy asked how automation has provided a competitive advantage. What has been the catalyst for adoption of that automation.

James Brunger says you can only automate so much of the commercial real estate investment process. The automation has given them a competitive advantage because they know how quickly they can raise the capital to go back to the acquisitions team and be sure that you are going to be efficient in deploying capital. Instead of hiring operations people, you can staff up the acquisitions side. As a sponsor they can focus on the acquisitions.

Because Capital Square has been one of the early adopters of Altigo, the reps that have signed on are getting rapid execution and money is going to work faster for both the reps and the investors. It allows them to move on to the next program faster.

Drew says Concorde takes a lot of pride in being a good partner with their sponsor firms and the folks they work with. Systems that can get things done faster with fewer NIGOs helps them because the business coming from Concorde is clean and done right. We want to be a good partner with the firms they work with and doing things the right way helps them get some allocations that others may not be able to get.

James Brunger says it’s human nature to want to do more business with partners that make your life easier. That’s especially true right now. The firms that have the most efficient processes and the fewest NIGOs, we’re going to lean on those firms that make life easier for everybody.

Stacy said maybe we’ve been a dinosaur industry for so long, there’s now a tremendous opportunity and we’re finally catching up and seeing a tremendous opportunity ahead of us.

Bill Robbins says, as a provider of automation technology, they also see advantages in information security. Recently three large IBD firms had 200 reps that had their email accounts compromised and those firms were fined $750,000 related to bad actors hacking those accounts. Across 10,000 they had

some of their private information exposed. All of these reps are emailing a treasure trove of private information around. Using email to send all those documents is a bad policy and automation provides another benefit to make all of that information secure.

The panel went on to discuss the key characteristics necessary for a straight-through processing system to provide advisors. They want to be able to consolidate a number of DST investments for the client. They want to be sure that clients are properly reviewing the documentation and understanding the investments they are making. It’s very important to know that clients are qualified to be making these types of investments.

These systems also help in advisor recruiting. They want to see systems that make them more productive and their lives easier. Technology does evolve, so Concorde looks at the enhancements that are coming. They want to work with systems that are improving, as thought leaders and forward thinking. They ask their partners “what’s next” so they can stay at the tip of the spear.

James Brunger answered Stacy’s question, “What’s in it for the sponsor?” James said the more they can get firms to adopt these systems , it really gives them the opportunity to focus their resources to quickly get to scale. It speeds up the processing and allows them to focus more on compliance. As the processing speeds up, they can be sure that the business is done correctly. From the investor perspective they get to focus on what they own.

As an industry, James would like to see all sponsors on Altigo because the easier we make the process the better for all of us and the sooner we can grow the alternatives industry.

As the industry scales up, we can handle the growth if we use our resources correctly and Altigo is absolutely essential to facilitate that growth.

SEC Filings Part 2: A Closer Look at Some Key Issues

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SEC Filings Part 2: A Closer Look at Some Key Issues

November 15, 2017 | by Beth Glavosek | Blue Vault

Börsenkurse als Grafik und Tabelle mit Lupe und Taschenrechner im Panoramaformat

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) aims to make it as easy as possible for investors to fully research companies before they invest in them. You can use the SEC’s EDGAR database to find answers to specific questions and concerns you may have. Here are just a few areas that investors may like to research.

Executive compensation

If you’re curious about how a company’s officers are compensated, the SEC’s Executive Compensation page describes the types of executive compensation and where disclosures are made in SEC filings. According to the SEC, the easiest place to look up information on executive pay is the annual proxy statement.

Insider trading

The SEC explains that insider trading can actually include both legal and illegal conduct. The legal version is when corporate insiders—officers, directors, and employees—buy and sell stock in their own companies. For more information about this type of insider trading and the reports insiders must file, the SEC has prepared an overview of Forms 3, 4 and 5.

Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest are required to be disclosed in company prospectuses or prospectus supplements.

Legal proceedings and lawsuits

If there are lawsuits that may materially affect an investment, the SEC requires companies to report such information on its Form 10-K in Item 3 – “Legal Proceedings.”

Bankruptcy

Companies must disclose bankruptcy filings via Form 8-K. Subsequent 8-Ks may disclose any reorganization plans and the date on which the company intends to emerge from bankruptcy. Investors should look at the reorganization plan for information about whether the common stock of the company may be canceled.

For additional guidance from the SEC on how to read company filings, check out their Beginner’s Guide to Financial Statements.

SEC Filings Part 1: What are All of Those Forms?

DOL Fiduciary Rule Challenged Again

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Challenged Again

January 20, 2017 | by Beth Glavosek | Blue Vault

Legal law concept image gavel  screen display

The Department of Labor’s long-debated Fiduciary Rule is once again being challenged by a group of lawmakers who say that the regulation is burdensome and costly. Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) with support from several national organizations has introduced a new bill that pushes for a two-year delay in the rule. During this time, the term ‘fiduciary’ would be reevaluated and the current interpretation of a conflict of interest revisited.

Introduced January 6, 2017, the Protecting American Families’ Retirement Advice Act is currently before the House Ways and Means Committee. Will the new legislation gain traction in advance of the ruling’s April 10, 2017 deadline for applicability?

Apparently, there are mixed reactions in the advisor community. According to CNBC, some continue to oppose the ruling, while others feel that any consumer protection that’s in clients’ best interests is something the industry should embrace. Not only have the terms and wording of the current 1,000+ page ruling involved years of contentious debate and negotiation, many (if not most) financial services companies have already made preparations to comply with it.

According to the DOL, most of the consumer protections provided under the Rule and exemptions must begin by April 10, 2017. However, financial advisors will not have to provide the Best Interest Contract until January 1, 2018.

ICYMI

In Case You Missed It…

November 25, 2016

On November 9th, Blue Vault released it’s first Nontraded REIT Fee Study. In the weeks leading up to and during the time of release, Blogs were posted to compliment this new study as well some timely commentary on current events.

Here is a look at those posts:

Nontraded REIT Fees

Current Events

Look for future Blue Vault Blog posts in upcoming NewsWires. Blue Vault delivers the most relevant alternative investment industry news, including nontraded REIT, BDC, Closed-End Fund, and private offerings, right to your mailbox.

Curious about Secondary Markets?

Curious about Secondary Markets?

November 18, 2016 | by Beth Glavosek | Blue Vault

Law gavel with dollars on wooden table background, closeup

One of the aspects of nontraded investments that investors must understand is the issue of illiquidity. That is, the intention of most nontraded programs is that investors will commit their money to the long-term and be able to give up access to their funds temporarily in exchange for a potential pay-off when the investment goes full-cycle.

However, there certainly can be cases in which stockholders wish to sell their shares prior to the conclusion of an investment program. While most nontraded REITs have share redemption programs, these programs may have been suspended due to liquidity issues or restricted to redemption requests filed due to death, disability or other hardships. One alternative to share redemption programs is to sell shares on what’s known as the secondary market.

One outlet that has emerged to offer nontraded REIT shareholders a more competitive market for their shares before a full-cycle event is consummated is the “online auction” website. These sites provide a forum for matching buyers and sellers of nontraded REIT (NTR) shares. In an earlier Insights article, Blue Vault listed more details about this concept and contact information for several of these sites that are available to meet this need.

However, there are some points that advisors and investors may wish to understand before they embark down this path. Here are some common questions and answers.

Q: What should investors know about secondary markets for nontraded products? 

A: There are transaction costs involved, usually as a percentage of the transactions. Also, buyers have to qualify just like they would if they were buying NTR shares from a Broker-Dealer; therefore, minimum net worth, income requirements, and portfolio concentration limits apply.

Q: What is the downside of picking up shares on the secondary markets at a price below current offering price vs. buying the shares from the sponsor? 

A: One downside would be that the shares at the auction sites are offered in “lots” or a specific number of shares. That is, if an investor wants to invest $10,000 or $100,000 in a specific product, there may not be any transactions available because one lot could be for $25,000 worth of shares (approximately) and another is for $11,000 worth of shares, and none of the auctions available match the desired investment amount.

Another downside is the limited availability of NTR shares. Usually, even the most active auction sites have only five or six different NTR share lots available at a time from only five or six NTRs. Those that are most available can be REITs that either have had negative performance over time or are approaching liquidity events, so they are not going to be “long-term” investments. These aspects eliminate most investors from being interested and make these auction markets more open to speculation. Participants are hoping to capture a shorter-term gain by buying low and receiving a capital gain when the liquidity events hopefully materialize.

One of the reasons that more advisors don’t recommend secondary market shares for clients is that these markets do not meet the objectives of long-term investors looking for steady income.

For more information about secondary markets, check out Blue Vault’s Insight articles, exclusively for Subscribers.

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What’s Next for the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

What’s Next for the DOL Fiduciary Rule?

October 11, 2016 | by Beth Glavosek | Blue Vault

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With the results of the U.S. election in, there’s already speculation about the future of the Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule that was finalized last year. Some are defending the rule, while others are hoping it will be repealed or changed.

The rule, expected to take effect in April 2017, now stands in question. “It is extremely likely the DOL fiduciary rule will not go into effect as planned in April 2017,” says Edward Mills, a policy analyst at investment bank FBR Capital Markets. Mr. Mills said Mr. Trump would most likely delay or block the rule through legislation, “most likely through a rider to an appropriations bill.” (source: Wall Street Journal)

Investment News reports that some stakeholders, like the Financial Services Institute, are hopeful for change. “We stand ready to work with [Mr. Trump’s] administration in ensuring Main Street Americans have access to objective and affordable financial advice as they save for a dignified retirement, pay for their children’s education and help care for aging parents,” FSI president and chief executive Dale Brown said in a statement.

However, others have expressed caution. In a statement to Trust Advisor, Pamela Sandy, the 2016 president of the Financial Planning Association says, “A rule is much more difficult to undo than a piece of legislation, so for now nothing changes. While it’s too early to fully understand the intentions of President-Elect Trump and the incoming Congress with regard to the rule, our hope is he will continue the work of the current administration to safeguard the futures of millions of American retirees.”