Context Summits Survey: Institutional Investors Plan To Boost Allocations To Alt Assets In 2017

Feb 16 2017 | 11:02pm ET

Nearly three out of four investors attending the Context Summits gathering in Miami two weeks ago plan to increase their allocations to alternative assets in the year ahead, according to a survey taken during the event.

Moreover, more than half view the alternative asset management industry positively this year, with an additional 36% taking a neutral stance, the poll revealed. 

Context surveyed more than 200 institutional investors and family office executives during the conference, which took place February 1-3. It was the second year for the allocator survey. More than $3.1 trillion in cumulative AUM was represented at the conference this year, Context said in a statement. 

Other key insights from the survey:

  • More than two out of three investors (68 percent) surveyed intend to decrease their cash position by the end of the year, indicating a willingness to remain in the market, although many investors cited political and regulatory uncertainty tied to the new administration as the two biggest headwinds facing the industry.
  • A majority of allocators (59 percent) prefer to allocate to emerging managers rather than established managers, indicating a willingness to seek new ideas and strategies.
  • The top three drivers for evaluating fund managers were Investment Process, Performance and AUM. The three least important drivers were Redemption/Lockup terms, Operations and Track Record Length.
  • Despite the willingness to take on less established managers, allocators are seeking high annualized returns, 12.5 percent on average, according to investor respondents.
  • Investors identified regulatory uncertainty, the new presidential administration and volatility in global markets as among the greatest headwinds to industry growth in 2017.

A more detailed report on the survey’s findings, along with complete results and in-depth analysis, will be available next month at, Context said.

“Institutional investors and family offices are paying close attention to their alternative portfolios and constantly revisiting their allocations,” said Ron Biscardi, CEO of Context Capital Partners and chairman of Context Summits, in the statement. “But despite a difficult market environment, our survey indicates the appetite for alternative investing remains strong.” 

Founded by Biscardi and Mark Salameh in 2013, Context Summits hosts a series of alternative investment industry events each year. The company is part of Context Capital Partners, an alternatives specialist founded in 2005 whose subsidiaries offer a diverse range of investment strategies, including hedge funds, liquid alternative mutual funds, and private equity funds. 

In addition to Context Summits, the firm’s business units include Context Jensen Partners, Context Asset Management, Context BH Capital Management, Context Liberty Bell, Titan Capital Management and Adams Business Credit. Since inception, Context has led hedge fund seed deals totaling more than $400 million.

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