Alternative investment platform CAIS has surpassed USD10 billion in transaction volume, with over 3,200 unique adviser firms/teams who oversee more than USD1.2 trillion in assets actively using the platform for product access and education. Additionally, the largest number of unique funds and products in CAIS’s history are being invested in by advisers, demonstrating the power of the platform’s holistic alternative investment solution.
“Despite the challenging market conditions, we achieved growth by adapting to the new normal and continuing to deliver real value to participants on both sides of our platform,” says CAIS Founder & CEO Matt Brown. “Advisers seek improved access and education on alternatives, and asset managers desire new shareholders. We continue to hit the mark on both fronts.”
CAIS received growth capital in 2019 from a consortium of institutional investors, including Angelo Gordon, Canyon Partners, CIM Group, Crescent Capital, and GoldenTree Asset Management. “CAIS ended 2019 with a strong balance sheet and is well positioned for continued profitability and expansion in 2020,” says Tim Shannon, CAIS President and Chief Financial Officer.
The CAIS platform is designed to be dynamic and frequently adapts its menu of funds and products to changing market conditions. Over 100 alternative investment funds and products have listed on the CAIS platform and received over USD10 billion in new capital from the RIA and broker-dealer channel.
The recent dislocation in the market has created an opportunity for advisors to consider new investment ideas, and CAIS has responded by adding timely strategies to the platform. “Now, more than ever, there is a demand for alternative investments by financial advisors who seek to diversify risk and improve outcomes for their clients’ portfolios,” says Michael Forestner, Global Co-CIO, Mercer Private Markets. “We are proud to have many of Mercer’s highly-rated managers and strategies available on the CAIS platform.”
In the first half of 2020, CAIS has added over ten new fund strategies to the platform from the industry’s leading alternative asset managers. These new offerings can allow advisors to capitalise on potential opportunities in renewable and sustainable energy, infrastructure, distressed, direct lending, global macro and a new vintage-year private equity offering advised by Mercer.
Additionally, the CAIS structured notes offering has expanded with record advisor-driven volumes leading to 85% YoY growth. “Structured notes have become an integral part of our client portfolios over the years, and the CAIS platform has been instrumental, from education and product creation, to client service and post-trade management,” says Dave Copeland, Founder, Strategic Wealth Partners.
The crisis has served as a catalyst for the wealth and asset management industries to change behaviour and embrace new technologies.
“We’ve spent the last decade building trusted relationships with thousands of financial advisors nationwide,” says Brad Walker, Senior Managing Director, Head of Products and Distribution. “As a result, our transition to supporting advisors and asset managers virtually has been relatively seamless, and most importantly, very effective.”
CAIS’s advisor-facing product specialists, with the support of the firm’s client service and marketing teams, have pivoted quickly replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communication. “CAIS has been providing us with strong support during these changing times including timely fund updates, direct access to managers and new investment opportunities,” says Aaron Hodari, Managing Director at Schechter Wealth. “Mercer’s independent due diligence and ongoing monitoring on all platform funds brings tremendous leverage to our firm,” Hodari added.
This shift aligns perfectly with CAIS’s mission to design and utilize digital technologies that automate and enhance virtual engagement and drive efficiency for financial advisors and asset managers. As a result, total transaction volume has increased by over 30 per cent YoY, with over 350 unique advisor firms/teams accessing a broad universe of strategies, including private equity, private credit, real estate, hedge funds, and structured notes this year alone.
“In challenging markets, we believe arming advisors with relevant and timely knowledge about alternative asset classes, products and strategies for implementation is critical,” says Andrew Smith Lewis, Chief Innovation Officer at CAIS. “CAIS IQ is designed to accelerate learning and help advisors protect and grow their clients’ portfolios.”
CAIS IQ is a modern learning system for financial advisors. Combining peer-reviewed cognitive science with artificial intelligence, our platform enables members to learn faster, remember longer, and master alternative investments. Featuring an ever-green selection of industry leading content, our mobile first solution helps advisors get smarter on what they need to know about alternatives and more, in just minutes a day.
“CAIS IQ is a game-changer for education. Equipping our financial advisors with the best tools and resources is a top priority,“ says Tim Maurer, Director of Advisor Development at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, LLC. “At Buckingham, a higher level of complexity requires a higher level of experience. CAIS IQ is a powerful learning system, empowering advisors to solve the unique needs of our clients because it is intuitive and quite simply, it just works.”
“CAIS continues to attract a loyal and growing community of financial advisors, asset managers and strategic partners. CAIS has never lost sight that it’s about people first,” says Matt Brown, Founder and CEO. “CAIS sits at the important intersection of deep personal relationships and innovative technology,” continued Brown.