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Farmland to futures: investing in the next generation

Featured Events | Mar 09, 2017 |

Left to right: Eric Burkett, Sanford Brown, Peter Brady, Eric Wood

It’s not uncommon to hear stereotypes describing millennials as lazy, entitled, or too tied to technology.

At a joint event between the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association and the Fordham University Alternative Investments Club, not only was “millennial” not a negative term, it was a celebrated one.

Millennials, Clinical Assistant Professor Kevin Mirabile pointed out, “are the next generation … things are changing.”

Joining Mirabile to offer the next generation an outlook on alternative investments were: Eric Wood, chief investment officer at Fordham University; Eric Burkett, MBA ’13, director and co-head of alternative investment technical specialists for Bank of America; Peter Brady, head of business development at BCK Capital Management LP; and Sanford Brown, managing director of business development for Alternative Investment Group.

The group started by describing their approaches to alternative investments. A basic topic, perhaps, but each panelist’s answer was different, flavored by his specific organization’s structure and goals.

We’re always so focused on putting investments into buckets,” Mirabile said. But in the real world, these buckets aren’t always so easily separated.

While Wood noted farmland and student housing as some of the recent investments taken on by Fordham’s endowment, Burkett explained how his team often puts together custom proposals for clients based on a specific objective. Brown, whose group manages five different strategies, highlighted that “investors are looking to managers like us as problem-solvers.”

Panelist responses also varied when noting some of the recent trends and new strategies within the industry. Some examples? Emerging managers. The rise of interest in sustainable investing. Impact investing.

One thing that rang true regardless of particular focus was that “you’re never going to have 100 percent information.” Wood was talking about due diligence, but he could have been referring to the industry in general.

Not even experts can know everything about the future of alternative investments. But they do know millennials will play an important part in it.

As Mirabile reminded the audience, “You are the people who are really going to move the needle going forward.”

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