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Alternative Market Briefing

Alternative mutual funds are here to stay

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Much has been written about hedged mutual funds, leading some to call them a new fad for retail investors. However, more and more managers are looking at mutual fund structures, and Tom Florence, CEO of Denver-based 361 Capital, says they are here to stay. 361 was founded in 2001, and was one of the early entrants to the liquid alternatives space, the firm manages three alternative mutual funds including a managed futures product. That fund - the flagship - currently has $415m in assets, and firm assets are at $460m.

"Mutual funds are a hard business, and they are a really different business, so hedge fund managers have to decide if they are going to go it alone or if they are going to do it with a partner who understands," he says in an interview with Opalesque, noting that there is an underserved investor marketplace for these products.

"The challenge is there are only so many alternative assets - is there enough room for all of these funds? No. So you're going to see focus on quality and performance."

Some early entrants into the space that lack quality may have a hard time competing against newer, higher quality products entering the market, he says. This also holds true for other retail avenues into the alternatives industry like business development companies (BDCs), or closed-end funds.

"The other interesting thing that I think you'll start to see happen is, a lot of hedge fun......................

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