- May 1, 2021: Vol. 8, Number 5

Roundtable: What is the most under-covered story in private wealth?

by contributing executives

Darren Whissen president, Atomi Financial Group

While much has been written about the increasing utilization of unlisted direct participation programs (aka “alternative investments”) by registered investment advisers (RIAs), there has been little discussion about the looming regulatory storm that is coming for RIAs in terms of demonstrating appropriate due diligence on these investments. Given that most RIAs are new to alternatives, many have not developed (i.e., written down) appropriate internal protocols for due diligence and determining investor suitability. Whether through audits or arbitrations, many RIAs are going to quickly find out they are in violation of Rule 206(4)-7. And, with Gary Gensler as the new SEC chairman, advisers can expect increased scrutiny and fines.


Drew Jackson, president and CEO, Concorde Investment Services

A number of DST sponsor firms are rushing to market to begin their asset raise without completing a thorough due diligence process today. While some may see it as speed to market ahead of competitors, the continuation of this trend could ultimately negatively impact the financial industry as a whole in addition to possible negative ramifications that land on the broker/dealer and their clients. As professionals, we should be dedicated to leveling the playing field and implementing industry best practices as standards for sponsors to have proper elements in place prior to having their selling groups together.


Alan Solon, chairman and CEO, EcoVest Capital

Historically, companies existed solely for profit or shareholder value. Today, with our attention turned toward running and operating our businesses during a global pandemic, the movement toward environmental, social and governance (ESG) is probably the most under-covered story of the year. We must now consider current events, social issues and the environmental impact of our choices in our personal, professional and investment decisions to make a profit or provide a return on investment. If COVID taught us anything, the companies that have flourished in this changing environment have operated and communicated with complete transparency and governance.


Dan Cullen, partner and chairman, Chicago tax practice group, Baker McKenzie

In today’s world, several complex cross-border hidden traps exist which can negatively impact global families. Family offices working with multi-jurisdictional and highly mobile families face unique challenges. Significant legal and tax issues often arise from cross-border investing, philanthropy, family mobility and, at times, the lack of planning for uncertainty as investments and family members become subject to the laws and regulatory regimes of multiple jurisdictions. Establishing family office governance, as a system, can effectively manage family members’ competing and interrelated interests by defining roles and boundaries and supporting a family’s vision. Careful planning can avoid traps for the unwary and deliver effective solutions for the astute.


Bill Leitner III, principal, Leitbox Storage Partners

One of the more under-covered stories in private wealth is the degree of institutional capital flooding into niche asset classes, such as self-storage — creating unprecedented upside selling opportunities for existing asset owners.  Fund flows data from Preqin indicate significant capital inflows into niche strategies as the only fund strategy with positive capital inflows in the first quarter 2020. All other strategies saw significant outflows, according to Preqin’s third-quarter 2020 fund asset flows report.


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