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'Alternative investments are a potential investment for everyone'

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jo Murphy, MD-Asia Pacific, CAIA Association

Jo has been based in Asia for 16 years, predominately in Hong Kong and complemented by a couple of years spent in Singapore. She has held a number of senior regional management positions successfully leading sales, business development, marketing and client relationship management divisions and has both built and managed large and successful regionally located teams.

Jo expatriated to Hong Kong, with Morgan Stanley, in early 1997 and has worked for a number of global institutions during her tenure. Jo enjoys a solid industry reputation and is a member of the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) Executive Committee.

In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Murphy,  who was recently voted "Asia's most influential women in the alternative sector" and also as one of "The 25 most influential people in Asian hedge funds" both by the industry leading Asian Investor magazine, explains the opportunities in alternative investments segment.

Tell us about Alternative Investment Education in India?
Alternative investments comes under 5 different categories that is hedge funds, private equities, commodities, structured products and real assets but even inside each one of those categories there could be many sub components and I think one of the challenge we try to address as an educator is when people hear the term Alternative investment often times, there are still so many popular misunderstandings pertaining to alternative investments. For instance, most people think hedge funds are an “asset class,” when in reality, two funds can be virtually exact opposites.

What are the opportunities for Alternative Investment Professionals?
I think alternative investments are a potential investment for almost everyone. An Alternative Investment can be easily summed up as anything that doesn’t sit in the conventional investment of Equities, Bonds and Cash. There is an increase in the number of Alternative Investment assets and the alternative investment industry has grown tremendously, therefore there is crucial need for experienced Alternative Investment professionals who have in-depth knowledge about these investments. Also, office investor communities are utilising Alternative Investment within their portfolios over and above their existing stocks, bonds and cash investments.

How is the global financial crisis spanning?
Globally the Alternative Investment (AI) industry continued to grow strongly in 2016. Estimates see the global Alternative Investment pool of assets under management in excess of US$10 trillion. The increase in assets is heavily driven by an increase in investor demand as institutions globally look to diversify their portfolios, include a wider range of asset classes - with a look to generate strong returns, reduce volatility, hedge against inflation and access reliable income sources.

Locally, growth and interest in the Alternative Investment industry continues to grow rapidly. Increasingly, the mass-affluent, high-net-worth and family office investor communities are utilising Alternative Investment within their portfolios over and above their existing stocks, bonds and cash investments.

Notably, over the last two years, AIF inflows have seen a significant increase with a solid growth momentum. Numbers from SEBI’s website unmistakably confirm this – cumulative funds raised as of Sept 2016 was 29,015 crores – a five-fold increase when compared to cumulative funds raised of 5,847.15 through Sept 2016. Further, we’ve seen close to 80 new AIF launches this year alone –

How is CAIA helping in capturing the diversity in alternative assets?
CAIA’s curriculum is continually evolving. We are now on edition three of both our level one and level two textbooks. CAIA keeps solid – and pre-emptive – pace with the evolution of the Alternative Investment industry. If we didn’t our curriculum would decay quickly. March 2016’s exam candidates used the third edition of our level one and for March 2017’s exam our new Level Two (third edition) will be used.

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