Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB) asset manager, Paul Hatch, has announced that the firm is upping its exposure to alternative assets in light of recent stock market problems. The company is the latest in a long line of asset managers and institutional investors to turn to alternatives, claims AAA, which advocates alternative and ethical investments.
Speaking at a recent Fund Forum ISA's Global Fund Distribution Summit panel entitled Understanding What Customers Really Want, Hatch said that MSSB has a current exposure of just 4 per cent in alternatives, totalling some $60 billion. However, as head of investment strategy, Hatch added that the business would like to increase this to between 15 and 20 per cent to a total of up to $300 billion.
“This is a remarkable statement of intentions from a high profile asset manager,” stated AAA’s analysis partner Anthony Johnson. He added, “This kind of positivity towards alternative asset classes is a great thing for the market in general and will do wonders for the firms offering attractive investments, but are still struggling due to a lack of investor awareness.
Mr Hatch was keen to point out the benefits of diversifying a portfolio by increasing exposure to alternative, adding that these investments come in many different forms: “We include real estate, commodities, managed futures, macro strategies, and long/short products in that category. Alternatives is a broad range of classes.”
One of the more lucrative asset classes in recent years has been sustainable forestry, through schemes like those run by Greenwood Management in Brazil. Forestry returns have typically outperformed stock and shares over the past decade. Forestry investment is also an ethical option for the increasing number of investor who want to find environmentally and socially responsible projects to invest in.
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