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Rating:In SoCal, a Liquid Alts Vet Adopts His Way Back Into the Mutual Fund Biz Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, October 07, 2016

In SoCal, a Liquid Alts Vet Adopts His Way Back Into the Mutual Fund Biz

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A liquid alts veteran in Southern California just adopted his way back into the mutual fund business. More mutual funds, staff expansion, and even an acquisition could be up next.

Dick Pfister
AlphaCore Capital
President and Chief Executive Officer
San Diego, California-based AlphaCore Capital took over as advisor to the Giralda Fund on Monday, October 3 and rebranded the fund as the AlphaCore Absolute Fund, an SEC filing confirms. The five-year-old, five-star, $2-million long-short equity mutual fund was previously powered by Madison, New Jersey-based Giralda Advisors [profile], which is part of the Mariner Holdings and Montage Investments [profile] family of companies.

Jerry Miccolis, founding principal and chief investment officer at Giralda, did not return a call for comment on the adoption. Marty Bicknell, CEO of Mariner and Montage, was not available for comment.

The AlphaCore team, led by CEO and founder Dick Pfister, builds multi-alternative strategies and started subadvising portfolios for advisors about a year ago and is "closing in on $100 million of assets." Lead PM Jonathan Belanger will be using one of those strategies inside the freshly rebranded and adopted fund, using eight to twelve alternative managers.

"We're going to apply the AlphaCore multi-alternative strategies," Pfister tells MFWire, adding that he expects Morningstar to reclassify the former long-short fund accordingly. "You get to kind of shorten the time window by taking over an existing fund."

Pfister says he does not plan to bring any Giralda staff over to AlphaCore as part of the deal.

The fund is a series of Gemini's Northern Lights Fund Trust, and Pfister plans to stick with Gemini and Northern Lights. He praises them as providing "great administration, great accounting, great legal help, ... good customer service."

"I've known the team and the people at Northern Lights for quite a long time," Pfister says. "The Giralda Fund was the vehicle we were able to take over, with a great series trust provider as well."

Looking ahead, Pfister may do some M&A.

"We are in the process of potentially acquiring another firm," Pfister says.

He also may launch more mutual funds.

"We have other models besides the model that's going to be going into this particular mutual fund," Pfister says. "As time goes forward it's likely that you'll see other AlphaCore funds."

On the staffing side, Pfister leads a team of seven. Watch for him to build out his team further.

"We'll probably be adding additional staff over the next six months as well," Pfister says. "The key areas would be research, potentially institutional distribution, potentially operations."

Pfister, an alumnus of the University of San Diego, is a 20-year veteran of the alternatives industry and was one of the original partners of another liquid alts shop, Altegris Investments. He left Altegris in 2014 and started AlphaCore in early 2015.

"I founded AlphaCore to provide advisors with not just product but actually advice about how to allocate to alternative strategies, especially liquid alts," Pfister says. "There's so many choices and the dispersion is so wide between the best and the worst."

Pfister notes that AlphaCore does not own the alternatives managers it uses in its strategies.

"Our whole firm is open architecture," Pfister says.

The AlphaCore team creates their own peer groups of 10 to 30 managers and then gives PMs an approved list of managers available for use in a particular strategy.

AlphaCore primarily distributes through independent investment advisors, regional banks and trust companies, and some TAMPs. 

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