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Alternative Market Briefing

Allocators ponder disruption at NEPC's client conference

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Allocators are looking for new ways to invest in the future, but they're also starting to wonder if banking on markets alone is going to be enough.

At NEPC's client conference today in Boston, the theme was 'disruption'. We've come to think of disruption as a catchall term for new technology that's putting old industries out of business. But, at this and nearly every investor event I've been at so far this year, disruption has taken on additional meanings. Investors aren't just fretting over what technology is coming next, they're also looking at big changes in aging and demographics and wondering if their model can hold on.

The tenor of investment events has changed. For every breathless panel talking about a new strategy, there's another looking at a megatrend that effectively flattens any hope that your financial future might turn out ok after all. The people on the stage have changed too. Rockstar managers have been replaced by data scientists and longevity researchers. The data scientist is there to talk to you about new blockchain technology, quant strategies, or how AI can work in your portfolio. The longevity guy is basically there to remind you that you're going to live too long for these strategies to have any lasting effect on your portfolio or your wealth. The vibe is downright millennial.

Allocators are also reconsidering their models. With low-cost beta products ancho......................

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