U.S. Alternative Investments 2021

Advisor Uptake of Alternative Investments

Drive Demand in New Channels

  • Explore advisor use and sentiment of alternative investments via an in-depth standalone survey
  • Discover the growing use of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) to bring companies to public markets
  • Understand the distribution landscape for alternatives, including outlook, opportunities, challenges, and key recommendations
  • Evaluate the distribution and use of liquid alternatives products
  • Review new data surrounding non-traded REITs (NTRs), business development companies (BDCs), and interval funds


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Report US Alternatives 2020 Detail

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Ryan Hanratty

Ryan Hanratty

Account Manager


Examine the retail and institutional alternative investment landscape, including market sizing, investment strategy, size, vehicle, distribution, and new product innovation. This report includes coverage of open- and closed-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, private equity, and other structures such as non-traded REITs (NTRs) and interval funds. It continues to focus on the democratization of alternatives theme as both traditional and alternative investment managers seek to provide such allocations to retail clients.

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Each report is lead authored by a senior Cerulli analyst with significant industry experience. The report incorporates qualitative and quantitative inputs, based on Cerulli’s proprietary research process. For more on our research process, click here.

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A Note from the Author

Traditional Asset Managers Exert Competitive Pressure on Alternative Managers

Daniil Shapiro, CFA

Daniil Shapiro, CFA


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Daniil Shapiro, CFA

Daniil Shapiro, CFA


Daniil is part of Cerulli’s Product Development practice, where he works on the identification, analysis, and reporting of asset management industry trends with a focus on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and alternative investments.

Prior to joining Cerulli Associates, Daniil was part of the Product Management and Business Intelligence teams with the MainStay Funds, part of New York Life Investment Management. At MainStay, Daniil supported sales efforts via fund and ETF competitive analysis, product research, and development of marketing materials, as well as performance reporting. Before New York Life, Daniil was part of the risk management practice at Accenture, and held risk and compliance roles at HSBC’s investment bank.

Full biography here.

In the push to reach retail investors with exposure to alternatives, traditional managers may have a home-field advantage. Our latest report looks at the advantages traditional managers have that may accelerate their ability to capture retail assets, whether on their own or via partners. Here are a few:

  • Traditional asset managers have well-established distribution functions that can resonate with advisors and end-investors. They can also offer extensive product support—possibly to the degree that some alternative investment firms neither can nor want to
  • Traditional managers have strong brand recognition; they simply need to show that they can add value for alternative exposures
  • Traditional managers are very familiar with economies of scale and fee compression, having proven willing to offer better pricing to capture greater flows and grow assets
  • Firms with retail-facing platforms and those with recordkeeping businesses will have both a technology and proximity advantage in helping investors access alternative exposures

Access this analysis and more with Cerulli’s report, U.S. Alternative Investments 2021: Advisor Uptake of Alternative Investments. This report monitors key developments across the product development and distribution of the alternative allocations used by advisors, ranging from liquid to illiquid and hedge-fund-like to private capital. It also initiates coverage of cryptocurrency and special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) offerings.

If you are an asset manager seeking to expand your product offering and distribution efforts, this resource provides quantitative and qualitative strategic guidance. Connect with our team for more.

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