Finance

Meet the 9 gatekeepers of alternative investments at major wealth firms like UBS, Merrill Lynch, and Wells Fargo shaping how the wealthy are investing in red-hot private markets

  • The mainstream investment community is increasingly embracing alternatives, and the US government has worked to get private equity into the hands of small-time investors. 
  • Business Insider has identified major wealth management firms’ top executives responsible for overseeing the menu of alternative investments that firms and their advisers can choose for clients. 
  • These executives work as gatekeepers, overseeing aspects of due diligence, manager selection, and strategy when it comes to private equity, hedge funds, and other non-traditional asset classes. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The business of managing the financial lives of the super-rich — and even those who aren’t so wealthy — is scrambling to find ways to get alternative investments into the hands of investors. 

Alternatives, or investments like private equity, hedge funds, pieces of art, and venture capital that fall under a loosely defined banner of products that are not traditional stocks and bonds, have grown in size and popularity.

Analysts expect wealth managers’ allocations to alternatives for their clients to grow. A June estimate from Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman pegged illiquid assets and alternative assets for the ultra-high-net-worth set to increase to $24 trillion in 2024 from $16 trillion in 2020.

Meanwhile the US government has worked to get private equity and credit into the hands of small-time investors.

Last month the Securities and Exchange Commission loosened restrictions on what qualifies a person to invest in sophisticated private-market investments, and in June the Department of Labor green-lit some retirement fund providers’ ability to add private equity as a component to some funds. 

Read more: Meet the 17 BlackRock power players carrying out CEO Larry Fink’s vision to turbocharge private equity and alternative investments growth

For Wall Street firms with big wealth management businesses, an enormous amount of due diligence and risk management is required when allowing more exotic investments into the hands of financial advisers’ clients as they can often be illiquid and less transparent. 

“The due diligence process can be more challenging for alternative investments due to the characteristics of private offerings, including the complexity of certain alternative investment strategies,” according to the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. 

Business Insider has identified major wealth managers’ top executives responsible for overseeing the menu of alternative investments that firms and their advisers can choose for clients.

These executives work as gatekeepers of sorts, overseeing aspects of due diligence, manager selection, strategy, and product marketing. 

Have a story to share about alternative investments at one of these firms? Reach this reporter at rungarino@businessinsider.com or rungarino@protonmail.com. 

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