We sat in on the JOBS Act panel at the iGlobal Alternative Investment Summit, and again found that perspectives on the impact of the legislation are always evolving. The JOBS Act promises to roll back the ban on advertising and general solicitation for privately offered funds (hedge funds, private equity, venture capital, and even managed futures pools). At SALT, the common thought was that this could set up a regulatory land grab, but here, Victor Fontana of Registered Fund Solutions argued that it was going to swing the door wide open for access to a broader market. His big drive was getting hedge funds into wirehouses and in front of RIAs, arguing for lower minimums in light of increased slot allowances for the fund. He’s less worried about shiny new ads for hedge funds than most:
“The JOBS Act goes halfway. But callers and CalPERS are not going to find your hedge fund on the internet, so this is about opening up distribution, particularly via wirehouses and RIAs and financial planners. These firms need nontraditional products. Traditional products have failed them.
From there, the conversation veered off topic and into a pitch for hedge funds in general as an investing opportunity. Frankly, this is where we raise an eyebrow at the JOBS Act conversations. Greater distribution is undoubtedly great for business, but if there isn’t a concerted educational effort behind distribution, our concern is that we’ll see more investors piling into investments they don’t understand because of the alternative label, without ever getting the diversification that’s supposed to underlie the product.
Many more panels left in the day. Next up – a “lightning” round on hedge fund strategies. We’ll see how they handle managed futures.
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