Our Capabilities

Our business is uniquely positioned to provide the capabilities of an institutional-quality research team at an economically feasible price point.  Our research proficiencies can be transformative to growing organizations that are committed to investment excellence but may not be positioned or able to build out an institutional-quality in-house research team.  Our platform can also back established teams to enhance their support and allow them to expedite the sourcing of new ideas and supplement the maintenance due diligence effort behind their investment ideas.  Our platform is designed to support Wealth Management Firms, Institutional Consulting Firms, Trust Platforms, Institutional CIOs, and Family Offices.

Who We Serve

  • Wealth Management Firms / RIAs
  • Bank Trust Offices / TAMPs
  • Institutional CIOs / Consultants
  • Family Offices
  • Retirement Plan Advisory Firms

Traditional Manager Research

We believe that investment manager research should be proactive and objective.  While careful judgement and comprehensive assessment of qualitative factors are critical, we employ a rules-based framework in an attempt to minimize cognitive biases and human error.  Each investment decision is made independently from outside parties or influence.

  • Quantitative model screen
  • Industry contacts
  • Attend trade shows
  • Inquiry from clients
  • Publications
  • Direct solicitations

  • Review Due Diligence Questionnaire
  • Conduct meetings and/or conference calls
  • Review initial quantitative and qualitative analysis

  • Comprehensive review of quantitative and qualitative stats
  • Operations review
  • Research report development
  • Research team review
  • Manager presentation

  • Periodic review call
  • Quantitative and qualitative checklists
  • Annual review of SEC filings
  • On-site visits as needed

Alternative Investment Research

We believe that alternative investments are important tools for achieving proper diversification when used correctly.  However, this category is not a homogenous group, and fund strategies within it can be quite nuanced.  Therefore, we believe in an objective- or outcome-based approach to selecting and combining alternative investment portfolios.

We select Alternative investment products by their unique attributes, such as:

  • Inflation sensitivity
  • Income generation
  • Absolute return
  • Market growth / appreciation
  • Volatility management / Hedged strategies
  • Crisis-offsetting or tail-risk strategies

  • Idea sourcing
    • Unique relationships
    • Client network
    • Database access
  • Quantitative / Qualitative assessment
    • Third party analytics software
    • Holdings-based attribution
    • Proprietary analytics models
    • Proprietary strategy-specific Due Diligence Questionnaires
  • Operational due diligence
    • We have the resources to conduct operational due diligence in–house
    • We also have close relationships with third party specialists, and can review multiple products at one time

Market Research

Quarterly Commentary and Market Monitoring Reports

We leverage the breadth of our capital market research in all facets of investment decision-making.  Our capital market research includes standard forecasts and projections of economic growth, inflation, and short- and long-term interest rates.  We also incorporate asset class valuations along with robust analysis of credit markets.

We provide monthly and quarterly performance data on some of the market’s most followed investment benchmarks.  A proper perspective on the stock market can help provide the context needed with which to view client portfolio performance.

Asset Allocation

We believe that asset allocation through portfolio optimization is extremely difficult.  We also believe that it is the most important decision that investors can make.  Our approach to asset allocation includes a healthy dose of common sense, and an exhaustive review of risk.  While optimizing for volatility is important, we recognize that that the greatest risk is not meeting an investor’s goals.

  • Internal construction – Black-Litterman Model
  • Consider various providers' inputs as regimes

  • Mean Variance Optimization – Optimizing returns relative to standard deviation is appropriate for building a sensible allocation, but is not optimal.
  • Downside Deviation Optimization – Removes the penalty attributed to the upside of standard deviation, and penalizes downside risk.
  • Conditional Value at Risk Optimization – Further emphasizes the severity of tail risk, and uses statistical probabilities to measure a max expected loss.

  • Monte Carlo Cash Flow Scenario Analysis
  • Measure and manage risks that result from the path and sequence of returns
  • Seek to match cash flows with liabilities

  • Conditional correlation analysis – Long–term optimization models use long–term correlation inputs, which can be misleading.  We believe that ultimately, long-term correlations are irrelevant if they do not hold up in critical events where diversification matters most.  Analyzing shorter-term correlations in times of market stress is critical to proper risk management.
  • Sensitivity analysis – analyzing a portfolio’s sensitivity to a specific variable
  • Scenario analysis – analyzing a portfolio’s sensitivity to a specific variable outcome or value
  • Regime analysis – analyzing a portfolio’s sensitivity to a combination of scenarios and variables

  • We don’t believe that diversification is achieved using style boxes and pie charts.  Therefore, we test our asset allocation mixes using multi-factor models.
  • Whether accounting for index exposure or active management, we are focused on managing intended and unintended factor exposures and concentrations both on a holdings basis and a returns basis.

  • We believe that modeling assumptions for broad alternative categories such as “hedge funds” can be extremely misleading.
  • We take measured steps to not oversimplify these categories, but to also not over-fit assumptions.

Model Construction

We believe that adding value through dynamic asset allocation is difficult without a thoughtful framework for decision-making.  We employ a systematic, rules-based process as the basis for all our allocation decisions.  While this system is not a rigid process, it serves more as a guide to prevent impulsive and subjective decision-making, especially in times of market distress.

  • Portfolio level risks
    • Shortfall risk
    • Drawdown risk
    • Cash flow risk
    • Sequence of returns risk
  • Asset class level risks
    • Valuation risk
    • Active risk
    • Illiquidity risk
    • Transparency/Complexity risk

  • Investor type
  • Asset class
  • Environment
  • Cost efficiency
  • Hybrid products
  • Liquid and illiquid alternative products

  • Market trends
    • Intermediate- and long-term trend signals
  • Market sentiment
    • A contrarian indicator that can signal shorter-term market movements when they reach extreme levels
  • Market valuations
    • Short-term noise can cause dislocations and deviations from absolute and relative fundamental valuations, but tend to revert to long-term averages over time
  • Macroeconomic fundamentals
    • Markets tend to follow economic fundamentals over the long-term, but deviate in the short-term

Customized/Bespoke Research

  • Manager/Fund lineup review
  • Investment research process and procedures review
  • Asset allocation model review

We assist institutions in developing a proper blue print for their stated investment goals and objectives, which provides the foundation for decisions that will be made on asset allocation, manager selection, risk tolerance requirements, and liquidity needs.  Our process includes an established systematic review that enables the investor to remain focused on long-term objectives irrespective of short-term market movements.  We construct this IPS in tandem with an end-client investor’s consultant or in an integrated fashion with an investment committee.

After completing an extensive and comprehensive evaluation of an investment manager prior to recommending or approving an investment strategy, we initiate a continuous evaluation process.  Every aspect of our ongoing investigation and evaluation is designed to confirm that the unique aspects of a manager that led to our initial conviction remain intact.  Our ongoing effort combines both qualitative/subjective and quantitative/objective elements.  We keep our clients fully informed on any material developments as well as performance results of the investment products under our coverage so that our clients can make appropriate decisions about their investments and allocation.

  • Women-/Minority-owned manager searches
  • Emerging manager searches
  • ESG/SRI/Faith-based manager searches