FRC Says Alternatives a Growth Opportunity for Asset Managers

Financial Research Corporation (FRC) says registered alternative products have performed strongly over the past few years and may be of interest to asset management firms.

FRC’s report, Opportunities in Registered Alternative Products, says there are nearly 400 registered alternative funds that employ a hedge-like strategy with assets totaling over $255 billion, as of July 2010.   

The firm said it believes Market Neutral funds with a broad investment mandate considerably lower the risk of a balanced portfolio. Their returns since 2005 have, on average, been significantly less volatile than domestic or international equity funds, based on top to bottom quartile annual returns.   

In addition, FRC contends that registered alternatives offer some shelter from the fee compression the industry has witnessed with conventional funds and ETFs, at least for the present. Although as the sector matures, the firm fully expects some fee and expense price compression.   

In the report, FRC examines the growth of funds that comprise registered alternative products, and explores several key management and competitive issues for asset management firms already participating in registered alternatives markets or those considering launching new alternative products. The report also provides data about the assets and net flows of the funds, as well as returns and fees associated with the products.   

Findings in the study are based on an analysis of FRC’s IMPACT comprehensive analytics platform of fund data, as well as information from Lipper Data Feed Services, Morningstar Direct, as well as interviews with firms offering registered alternative funds and ETFs, and prior FRC research, including FRC’s Advisor Action Report (2010), and Mutual Fund Market Sizing, 2010-2014 (2010).