Nuveen Investments expands access to alternatives for financial advisers' wealthy clients

Leaning on technology to streamline the process

Aug 9, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

Nuveen Investments has rolled out a new platform that will expand access of its alternative investment lineup to wealthy individuals working with financial advisers.

Nuveen, an operating division of TIAA Global Asset Management, already manages $140 billion worth of alternative investments for institutional investors in products including real estate, agriculture, timber, agribusiness, and private equity.

But the addition of a technology-driven platform is designed to expand that access to qualified clients of financial advisers and family offices.

“Part of the difficulty around the growth of alternatives is easy access to documentation and strategies,” said Mike Perry, Nuveen's head of alternative investments.

“Many advisers don't participate because it's so difficult to get information on traditional alternatives,” he added.

The growing appetite for alternative investment strategies can be measured by the growth of alternative-strategy mutual funds.

According to Morningstar liquid alternative mutual fund strategies, now make up more than $176 billion across 1,533 individual funds.

Total liquid alt funds have increased by more than 66% from 921 funds at the end of 2011.

Total assets in the funds is up 100% from $88 billion at the end of 2011.

The Nuveen platform, which provides advisers access to alternative products at TIAA Global, deals with the kinds of private investment products and partnerships that require investors meet certain net-worth minimums.

But, as Mr. Perry explained, technology is making it easier for advisers to gain access to a variety of unregistered products.

Nuveen has engaged technology provider Artivest to create a white-label platform to provide access to private alternative investments from Nuveen/TIAA. The products had previously not been available to individual investors.

“The launch of this new initiative clearly illustrates our commitment to serving advisers in this space and our desire to help their clients access the broad and deep alternative investment solutions,” he said.

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