What this magazine is all about
- March 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 3

What this magazine is all about

by Geoffrey Dohrmann

The reason we founded Real Assets Adviser, ultimately, was to serve the interests of individual investors around the globe, particularly those who are advised by financial professionals like the people reading this publication.

According to a study conducted several years ago by investment consulting firm Casey Quirk, investors of all kinds — institutional and noninstitutional — were facing a daunting challenge: how to achieve their financial objectives in the persistently lower-income, lower-total-return world of traditional equities and fixed income.

The solution to this conundrum posed in that white paper, originally published in 2007 and titled Brave New World, was for investors to begin incorporating alternatives such as real estate, private equity, venture capital and infrastructure into their portfolios.

The problem, the white paper noted, was that most individual investors were ill-equipped to make those kinds of investment decisions without expert advice.

Equally problematic, the paper argued, was that most financial advisers weren’t very well steeped in the knowledge and experience needed to provide that kind of advice.

Most advisers, it pointed out, were educated in finance or the humanities, and had little or no academic exposure to how alternative investments perform or fit within the context of prudent portfolio construction.

SEC licensing preparation — even for the simple direct participation program sales license — focused more on securities rules and vehicle structure, rather than on the characteristics of the underlying alternative assets these programs were designed to make accessible to investors. The Series VII exam and prep course offered even less guidance in this area. Neither did the CFP or CFA licensing and training programs, which barely touched on these kinds of investments.

What that meant was the entire burden of educating the advisory public fell onto the shoulders of the investment managers who offered these kinds of programs and were hopelessly conflicted when developing truly objective educational programs and materials.

What was needed to support advisers in making sound recommendations about the alternative space was a high-quality, objective, independently produced publication covering alternative investments.

Some aspects of these asset classes already were being well covered by the likes of Venture Economics (on the venture capital sector) and Private Equity International (in the private equity investment sector).

What clearly was missing was an authoritative publication that would cover the many nuanced areas of the real asset investment space — real estate, agriculture, timber, infrastructure, energy, commodities, etc.

That kind of publication had to provide case studies of advisers successfully recommending real asset types of investments, had to provide lists of the leading investment managers specializing in these types of programs, as well as lists of the various offerings they were providing, had to provide summaries of the leading benchmarks for each of those asset classes, had to provide educational articles about the opportunities and pitfalls imbedded in these kinds of investments, as well as reports on developments in the underlying markets in which these assets operated.

This was precisely the format we designed for Real Assets Adviser, so it could serve as a tool to help topnotch advisers do a better job of advising their clients on the merits and risks associated with investing in these investment sectors. And that continues to be its mission today, to support the provision of truly objective, independent, high-quality advice to individual investors about investing in the real asset classes.

To accelerate rapid growth of our readership, we elected to make Real Assets Adviser a controlled-circulation publication — available to qualified professional financial advisers and the people who supported them and screened investment programs for their platforms. The costs for underwriting this broad mandate were to be shared by investment manager sponsors of the publication, via programs similar in nature to those developed to support public radio and television programming.

We hope you are enjoying your subscription to Real Assets Adviser and finding it be a valuable resource to support you in your work as a financial professional. We also urge you to write and let us know if there’s anything we could be doing to make this publication more valuable to you and your colleagues.

Meanwhile, it’s important to be careful. Be very, very careful. It’s a wacky world out there.


Geoffrey Dohrmann is founder and CEO of Institutional Real Estate, Inc., the publisher of Real Assets Adviser magazine.


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