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Monday, December 3, 2012

Altegris Invests in the Advisor Channel

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

La Jolla, California-based alt shop Altegris [profile] has seen the future in the financial services world: financial advisors who want, and understand, alternative investment products.

To prepare for that future, Altergis is investing in new alternative experts, educational resources and will also launch new products in the coming year: all in the hopes of making advisors more comfortable with this investment category.

"Part of the issue with alternatives is: advisors think they are interesting, but if they don't understand what the managers are doing, we believe they may not even allocate into this category," Dick Pfister, executive vice president and managing director of global sales and consulting at Altegris, told MFWire. "And if they do allocate, they may not hold it through the various cycles that an alt manager may go through."

To address advisor demand for education on the subject, Altegris earlier this year launched the Altegris Academy, which features white papers on alternative investments as well as various interactive tools and indices to help advisors create hypothetical portfolios and answer client questions.

Pfister says "it costs a lot of money to really create good content and focus on it," but he said these resources are essential for garnering advisor trust.

"Advisors are really craving this education," he said. "They want to be able to explain to their clients how these products fit in their portfolios."

In addition to educational materials, Altegris is investing in alt experts to beat the drum across the country. Pfister said this year alone, his firm has grown its sales team by 30 percent to 40 professionals. Notable hires include Valentina Glaviano, who was brought on in September to fill the newly created role of director of distribution strategy. She had previously been managing director and head of ETF and trade-able funds distribution at Guggenheim Investments.

Other notable hires this year have included Christopher McCool into the position of vice president, and New England regional director, and Amy Bennett, director of sales strategy and channel marketing.

Pfister says his firm may hire another 10 sales people in the coming year.

Further, the firm plans to launch two more alt mutual funds in January: a long short, fixed income and credit product as well as a multi-manager product. 

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