ALPS Woos Reporters in the Big Apple
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Monday, June 09, 2008

ALPS Woos Reporters in the Big Apple

ALPS Fund Services is no longer just a fund-servicing firm. Executives from the Denver-based firm gathered this week at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Manhattan to provide members of the media with a bit of context for ALPS' recent diversification beyond its traditional and expanding fund services.

"We were founded on an outsourcing model," said president Ned Burke, contrasting that with the "asset gathering business model" the firm has recently added.

Managing director of business development Tom Carter agreed with Burke, citing the logic that led ALPS to start down this path a decade ago.

"10 years ago, we said, 'We are a core service provider. Yet we need to diversify our revenue from core services,'" Carter said, describing the original discusion.

The firm now offers its own asset allocation portfolios and the Listed Private Equity Fund, sub-advised by Ibbotson and Red Rocks, respectively. But Clarke stressed that ALPS isn't in a hurry to launch lots of products.

"We may be good at selling, but we're also good at product-selection," Clarke said. "We've been almost aggressively selective."

"We can wait until the right opportunity comes along," agreed Kevin McNally, director of closed-end funds.

Much of that opportunity, according to institutional advisory services director Corey Dillon, lies in providing "satellite" investments to fit into an allocations. And that's where the Listed Private Equity Fund comes in.

"More advisors are going to a core/satellite or core/explore institutional approach," Dillon said. "So, we're focusing on providing satellite solutions to put inside a portfolio, delivered in an open-end fund structure."

But even as ALPS spreads its wings with its own proprietary products, Burke told reporters at the roundtable that the firm's fund servicing and distribution businesses are going strong, thanks in part to consolidation in the fund servicing business.

"The pipeline is full at ALPS," Burke said. "People need distribution, and we have built the reputation of being able to raise assets."

Jeremy Held, director of product distribution for ALPS, and Dan Dolan, director of wealth management for the Select Sector SPDR Trust rounded out the executive group for the discussion.

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