Investors demand more competitive offerings from Alternative Strategies – Multi Asset Sector


Notable changes have occurred in the Alternative Strategies – Multi Asset sector since Standard & Poor’s Fund Services’ last review in December 2009, according to the Sector Report published today.

The growing demand for transparency, increased liquidity, fee structure changes, and lower stock-market beta products have increased competition in the sector. The classic fund of hedge fund (FOHF) model—offering investors “access” to a diversifying set of alpha managers, albeit at a higher cost and with reduced liquidity—is being challenged, especially where performance has been poor.

“During the GFC, many multi-manager/FOHF products failed to deliver absolute returns or diversifying protection from equity market sell-offs, raising significant doubts in investors’ minds as to the core value premise of the format. High profile due diligence failures compounded its unattractiveness, along with relatively high fee structures. In addition, some products using single-manager multi-strategy and active multi-manager models that incorporate tactical exchange-traded fund (ETF) and index-like allocations have outperformed the “alpha manager” FOHF model,” said S&P Fund Services analyst Michael Armitage.

He added: “We view the “allocate and pray” feeder FOHF model as dead. In future, we expect offerings that fail to compete in terms of active oversight, transparent risk management, product-level liquidity, and competitive fees to lose out to the growing competition from newer funds designed from the ground-up to deliver on these features. There were several upgrades in this year’s sector review as we recognised funds with some of these product advantages and gained conviction in other offerings that had shown extended track records since our previous reviews.”

The Alternative Strategies – Multi Asset – Diversified Multi-Manager And Multi Asset – Multi-Strategy Sector Report published today, together with reports for all funds rated as part of the review, are available on S&P’s subscriber website

We also withdrew our ratings on the following four headline funds:

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