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Rating:GSAM's Alts for Dummies, Under the Aegis of Papagiannis Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, June 27, 2014

GSAM's Alts for Dummies, Under the Aegis of Papagiannis

Reported by Anastasia Donde

Nadia Papagiannis, who joined Goldman Sachs Asset Management in January as director of Alternative Investment Strategy in Global Third Party Distribution, is close to starting an alternatives education website for Goldman. The site is expected to launch in the fall and will be publicly available.

Goldman manages its own liquid alts products, of course, and has recently been launching more of them. The firm's hedge fund of funds business started a multi-manager mutual fund about a year ago that now has over $500 million under management. But the site won't be about Goldman's own or other providers' products, it will be more about an overview of alts strategies and education in general, Papagiannis explained.

The alternative investment landscape is still not very well known to many financial advisors and their end clients, so Papagiannis hopes to make it palatable to them. "The advisors need to understand it and it also has to be geared towards the end investor," Papagiannis told MFWire. She also wants to outline diversification within the alternatives portfolio to clients and advisors. Most advisors understand that alternatives are a good way to diversify a portfolio, but many don't know or realize that there is more diversification that can be done within the alternatives bucket itself and that there are many types and flavors of strategies with the category, Papagiannis explained.

She also plans to outline the spectrum of strategies for investors. "What is beta, what is smart beta, what is hedge fund beta and then what is alpha? And how that goes down the spectrum," she said.

Papagiannis said alternatives have largely been embraced by the wirehouses already (since 2010 or so) and bank trusts will probably go next, followed by Defined Contribution plans. "But for DC plans, it will take years," she said. "There isn't a lot of upside to doing something different [for DC plan sponsors], but there is a lot of downside, legal and otherwise."

She also thinks greater adoption of alts among DC plans and retail investors will depend on the fixed-income market. "The catalyst will be if something bad happens to the bond market. If something blows up in bonds, it will blow up people's retirement savings and will actually get the industry moving," she said.

Papagiannis was previously the head of alternatives research at Morningstar. She's since been replaced by Josh Charlson

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