Interval Funds

Oct 29. 11:43

IPAConnect: Interval Funds Finally Get a Conference

Institute for Portfolio Alternatives Event Graphic

It's October 29th, 2021. Over the next three days, guests from around the country (including IntervalFunds.org) will be landing in New York City, laminated proof of vaccination in hand, to attend the first-ever industry conference focused on interval funds.

IPAConnect's Unlisted Closed End Funds: Interval and Tender Offer kicks off at the Sheraton Times Square this Monday, November 1st at 8am sharp, hosted by the Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA).

While "interval fund" still isn't a household name for most retail investors, major players in finance have taken note; panelists and moderators include leaders from firms like Bain Capital, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, and Nasdaq, along with a who's-who of alternative asset managers.

Bringing the interval fund industry to the proverbial table represents yet another milestone in what is already a banner year for closed-end interval funds. In this piece you'll get a primer on the IPA, the background of the event, and why it matters to the everyday investor.


The Institute for Portfolio Alternatives

The IPA is a nonprofit trade association based out of Washington, D.C. with a mission to expand access to alternative investments with low correlation to public markets. These "real assets" can be powerful drivers of yield and a way to hedge against both inflation and market volatility, but have traditionally been out of reach for unaccredited investors.

If you've been reading our articles, you probably know that closed-end interval funds are one way to satisfy the SEC's investor protection and transparency requirements, allowing unaccredited retail investors to gain exposure to these alternatives. Other vehicles include non-traded REITs, closed-end funds, and DSTs/1031 exchanges. The IPA supports them all, through a combination of industry advocacy to regulators, coordinated public relations efforts, and actively fostering relationships between leaders in the space.

The IPA has nearly 200 member firms spanning asset managers, distribution partners, and fund service partners (like custodians and auditors). Their members already include top asset managers like Blackstone, PIMCO, and Nuveen, and they enthusiastically welcome new firms to their community, announcing new members on a frequent basis.


Breaking Down Silos

IntervalFunds.org connected with the IPA earlier this year and immediately recognized common goals. IPA's President and CEO Tony Chereso warmly welcomed us into the community, and we had a chance to talk to him about the motivations behind this event.

According to Tony, the impetus for the conference was a member consensus that the rapidly evolving and growing interval fund space lacked industry-wide focus. We didn't know Tony or the IPA when we first started building IntervalFunds.org, but our project was driven by the exact same observation, at around the same time - it was absurd that such a valuable category of investment products was so cumbersome and expensive to research.

If you have a "disruptive idea" it's safe to assume that someone else is already working on it. We're glad that IPA ended up being a partner.

They spent the last two years curating an agenda that would thoughtfully cover all aspects of interval funds. This isn't your typical marketing-focused trade show, with "forward-looking statements" caveating painstakingly scripted beta product demos. The focus is education, and the panelists and moderators represent - for lack of a better term - the top "thought leaders" for interval funds.

The event will bring all industry stakeholders together - asset managers, distribution partners, FinTech, accountants, lawyers, custodians, researchers (!), etc to share best practices, collaborate on market opportunities, and collectively drive innovation to make the space stronger.

Importantly, while strengthening the space is great for us stakeholders, it's not an end in itself. IPA's mission is to expand retail investor access to alternatives, and one of the primary audiences for the event is financial advisors with retail clients. If these RIAs feel confident recommending interval fund products to their clients, then IPA's mission manifests as positive change in peoples' lives.

Imagine a retiree living off social security and treasury bond yields. Imagine the life-changing impact of boosting their income over 300% by reallocating to certain interval funds, with no additional capital invested. Ultimately, stories like that are what this event, and the IPA, and IntervalFunds.org are trying to create.


Looking Forward

If the IPAConnect event is a hit - and we're confident it will be - the IPA plans to evolve it into a series of regional events to engage distribution partners closer to where they operate.

As we mentioned earlier, IntervalFunds.org will be on site throughout the event. If you have requests for research projects, would like to partner on some kind of initiative, or have an interesting story to pitch us, please drop us a line at alpha@intervalfunds.org or just DM us on Twitter at @interval_funds.

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