Anything not a stock, bond, or cash investment is generally considered an alternative investment. Examples of common alternative investments include hedge funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), private placement funds, closed-end 40 Act funds, and Reg A companies seeking capital.
Like a traditional stock or bond investment, alternatives have their pros and their cons. Disadvantages include the potential for high initial fees, less liquidity, and a longer investment horizon. But alternatives also can have distinct advantages over the traditional investment market, such as lower correlation to the broader markets, tax benefits, or protection against inflation. For the right investor or financial advisor, alternative investments can be a useful tool to diversify a portfolio.
When looking to outsource due diligence, you want to be sure you are getting a complete, unbiased picture of the investment or sponsoring organization. Good questions to ask are: How does the due diligence provider work with the sponsor? What other information sources do they use? What types of experts do they employ and what are their specific areas of expertise? Finally, what time frame can you expect to see information in? A report showing a well-rounded picture of an investment has much less value if the information is out-of-date. FactRight delivers up-to-date information that can be used to guide decision-making today.
This concern is very valid. Third party due diligence is often paid for directly by product sponsors, and the users of the report (the financial service professionals who work with alternatives) receive the information for free. Regulatory agencies have historically accepted seller-funded diligence as long as it remains impartial. We believe, however, that this method may come under increased scrutiny by regulators as the financial services industry more widely adopts fiduciary standards and principals.
How does FactRight remain impartial? By scrutinizing every piece of information available. Our financial and legal experts dissect the sponsor or offering, looking specifically for gaps in information or questionable interpretations. We also bring in data from other market-relevant sources to create a holistic, unsentimental picture of the sponsor/offering.
Once factual review is complete, the sponsor is allowed to verify the accuracy of the data from an abridged draft report—one without any discussion of risks, strengths, or conclusions or recommendations. Suggestions on this material are only considered if the sponsor can provide significant supporting evidence. When the report is finalized—including our overall findings—it is published on our Report Center, to which the sponsor does not have access.
For financial services firms that are interested in requesting their own sponsor-free due diligence reviews and platform recommendations, we offer our custom FR Risk Management service.
No one can keep their eye on everything all the time. FactRight’s team of financial and legal experts are always watching and reviewing the constantly changing environment of alternative investments so that you don’t have to.
At FactRight, we specialize in understanding and explaining the complex world of alternative investments. We determine where an investment is strong or risky and explain how fluctuations in regulations or the market will affect those investments. This is all we do and we do it well. Partnering with FactRight allows you to focus on the specific needs of your business and the individualized needs of your clients.
Recent Blogs from FactRight
- Loan Guarantee Fees in Investment Programs: Risk Compensation or Rent Seeking?by email@example.com (Kevin Kirkeby) on November 20, 2023 at 7:53 pm
Company owners and other executives often receive compensation for providing a personal guarantee to a commercial loan their investment program is seeking. The size of this personal guarantee fee varies considerably, as does the level of disclosure. We believe the personal guarantor should be compensated, but it must be commensurate with the risk the guarantor is taking on. Drawing upon FactRight’s experience in reviewing private real estate and other alternative investment programs, this blog post focusses on personal guarantees (rather than corporate guarantees), discusses the typical range of fees, and reviews the factors that influence a reasonable fee amount.
- FactRight Takes Salt Lake Cityby Kate@FactRight.com (Kate Stephany) on September 7, 2023 at 5:11 pm
*Olympic Trumpet flair*
- Navigating the Cap Rate Landscape: How Real Estate Cap Rates Relate to Real Interest Ratesby Jeff.B@factright.com (Jeff Baumgartner) on August 9, 2023 at 6:02 pm
With limited success for centuries, astronomers charted the stars with hopes of better understanding the universe until one day when Copernicus suggested that the earth was orbiting the sun. Once his epiphany was fully understood, empires could navigate the globe with unprecedented precision by knowing exactly where they were by looking up at the stars. Today, there is no shortage of cap rate/interest rate correlation theories in our industry. Perhaps more fully understanding commercial real estate cap rates and their orientation to interest rates can aid alternative investors in navigating the horizon of real estate investment opportunities.
- FINRA Regulatory Notice 23-08: Building on Regulatory Notice 10-22 to Develop More Robust Due Diligence of Private Placement Offeringsby firstname.lastname@example.org (Jacob Heidkamp) on June 28, 2023 at 6:26 pm
FINRA recently released Regulatory Notice 23-08, which provides a reminder to FINRA members of their reasonable investigation obligations when selling private placement investments to their clients under Regulation D. The Regulatory Notice marks FINRA’s first substantial discussion of due diligence related to private offerings since Regulatory Notice 10-22, which was released in April 2010, and forms a crucial part of the foundation of broker-dealer due diligence practices in satisfying their reasonable investigation requirements for offering private placement investment opportunities for their clients. While Regulatory Notice 23-08 does not create new legal or regulatory requirements or new interpretations of existing regulations, the notice does identify areas for consideration and focus for FINRA members in establishing new or modifying existing practices, based on certain observations and examples that FINRA has included in the Regulatory Notice 23-08. In this blog, we will explore some of these areas of focus and some practical steps broker-dealers can take to enhance their due diligence practices based on areas identified in Regulatory Notice 23-08.
- Not All Units Are Created Equal in Broker-Dealer and RIA-Distributed Investment Programsby email@example.com (Gail Schneck) on June 13, 2023 at 3:44 pm
This blog looks at what unit pricing in an investment program offering means to your investors and how to determine whether such pricing treats all investors “fairly.”