Navigating the Tide: Roundtable Discussion on Strategies Amid Rising Rates and Market Volatility

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Welcome to the My Private Network Podcast!

Ep. 16 Private Investing Roundtable

Interested in learning about private market investing concepts and opportunities available to you?

This week's episode features our co-founder and host, Bob Simpson, who gives you, the investor, a chance to hear from industry experts about why you should consider investing in the private market.

Our expert panelists with "boots on the ground" experience in the private market

Vikram Rajagopalan
Senior Managing Director, Capital Strategy and Distribution
Trez Capital

Cynthia Maisonneuve
Director, National Accounts and Investment Sales
CMLS Asset Management

Michael Baker
Principal & Director, Sales at ICM Asset Management
ICM Asset Management

Today's Questions of Interest
- Cynthia, could you tell us about yourself and CMLS Asset Management? |
- Michael, tell us about yourself and ICM Asset Management.
- Vikram, share with us your background.
- Cynthia, what are you seeing in the multi-family space today?
- Mike, can you talk about the Music Royalties fund?
- Vikram, can you talk about the marketplace when it comes to private debt and equity?
- Cynthia talking about transparency and Alt by Alt conference.
- Mike, what are you seeing in the world of real estate investing?
- Vikram speaks on U.S. in comparison to Canadian real estate markets.
- Vikram speaks about the U-Haul Index moving rates in the U.S. versus Canada.
- Cynthia, is real estate highly levered or a conservative investment?
- Mike can you talk about how leverage is affecting the market right now?
- Vikram expands on the leverage topic.
- Cynthia's final thoughts.
- Mike's final thoughts.
- Vikram talks more about the Alt by Alt conference.
- How to attend the conference.


Bob Simpson: Welcome back to the latest edition of My Private Network podcast. I'm Bob Simpson, your host, opening another door to my private network. For those of you who are regular listeners, you know that we use a variety of different formats on our podcast. We started with a collage format where we approached a single question like , "why invest in private debt?", and got the opinion of three to five private debt managers.

Our most recent focus has been one on one 30 minute interviews to provide educational content for the concepts discussed in on our website. Through these, you've learned about a wide range of concepts such as private lending and real estate, some of the more traditional and also some of the more unique concepts like music royalties and farmland.

Today, we're changing the format once again. If you've listened or watched our Outlook 2024 podcast, where we interviewed three specialists, Bill Chinery, former head of teachers pension fund investment committee, Sasha Cucuz discussing Canadian real estate and Prathna Ramesh discussing artificial intelligence, you heard unique points of view about a broad range of topics.

In this episode, we're following a similar format, but opening doors for you to meet three individuals who if you're an investor, you will never get exposure to. If you're an advisor who is tuning in, you may have met these people. Or if you're thinking about introducing your clients to new concepts in the world of private debt and equity, you should reach out to today's panelists.

Today's guests are what, what in the industry we call wholesalers. They usually have much better titles, and I will share these with you. They work very closely with the fund managers they represent to keep financial advisors up to date with trends, fund info, and what managers are thinking and doing. The good ones, in fact, are the eyes and ears that keep us up to date with what is happening in the world of investing. And I must say that today's panelists are considered to be at the top of their class.

Today's panelists are Cynthia Maisonneuve, Director National Accounts. Here we go with the fancier titles, Director National Accounts and Investment Sales for CMLS Asset Management. One of our real estate private lenders.

Michael Baker, Principal and Director Sales for ICM Asset Management. Mike's firm is primarily represented on PD&E for the music royalties concept, but they are, they're very large players in real estate. Vikram Rajagopalan, Senior Managing Director, Capital Strategy and Distribution for Trez Capital, both a private lending and real estate equity manager focused in the U. S. Sunbelt.

So that's enough from me, I think, you know, I've already used up much of our time today, but let's jump into it. Cynthia, just tell us a little bit about yourself and CMLS.

Cynthia Maisonneuve: Thanks, Bob. It's a pleasure to join the podcast, with some of my esteemed colleagues here, Michael and Vikram in the asset management space.

I'm pleased to head up the sales and distribution as you mentioned for CMLS asset management. I've been doing that for a little bit over five years since we started distributing the CMLS mortgage fund. Just in terms of a little bit about the firm, CMLS Financial was founded in 1974 with roots in the commercial lending space, dating back almost 50 years.

We are one of the highest rated serVikers with ratings both by DVRS, Morningstar and Fitch. We minister over 50 billion in assets for some of the largest institutions in the country and are underwriting over 14 billion of deal flow year over year. So CMLS asset management. will leverage the infrastructure and scale of CMLS Financial, through our program of specific discretionary mortgage investment strategies.

So the fund itself, the CMLS Mortgage Fund, is a institutional grade, Canadian focused, residential and commercial. And when I talk about commercial, I'm widely talking about multi-family real estate and that's going to be focused on income producing properties, so we won't, see a lot of land and construction in this portfolio.

We have a 15 year gate free track record of 68 percent returns with no loan losses, no current arrears in our multi-family portfolio. And we really strive to be one of the funds out there that can provide a stable return at low risk. So you're not going to see us adding riskier assets in this portfolio, reaching for higher yields.

Right now we're in a rate environment where we have some of those higher yields in place. We're really, really going to stick to what's worked for us over the last 15 years and be completely transparent about the strategy along the way.

Bob Simpson: Yeah, perfect. Thanks, Cynthia. Michael Baker from Calgary. Thanks for joining us.

Michael Baker: Thanks Bob.

Bob Simpson: Just tell us about yourself and a little bit more about your firm.

Michael Baker: Sure. Yeah. I'm excited to be participating today. Thanks for having me. So I've worked my entire career in investment sales. I now live in Calgary as you suggested, but I was born and raised in Guelph.

So I think you could say it's probably a little bit unusual given that, you know, most of the investment managers out there would be Toronto based. We'd like to think that we represent the West well. And as you also indicated, ICM manages assets on behalf of wealth management firms, family offices, and institutional investors.

And we've got a number of different business lines or platforms, if you can call them mostly focused in real estate, music royalties, and then we've got a venture capital business as well. But obviously the commonality between all of those things is that we invest in real assets on behalf of our clients.

And we've been doing that for a better part of 20 years. ICM was founded in 2003.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. Perfect. I thought you were going to say that, uh, what's surprising is nobody ever leaves Guelph, right?

Michael Baker: Yeah. Now, now maybe. Well, Guelph was a very different place when I, uh, when I lived there.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. It was a place to try to get out of, right?

Michael Baker: Yeah, exactly.

Bob Simpson: Nothing to say, not saying that we're not saying anything bad about Guelph at the time. Yeah. and Vikram, you were born in Guelph as well. Is that right?

Vikram Rajagopalan: Far from it, Tokyo, of all places.,

Bob Simpson: Is that right? You were born in Tokyo.

Vikram Rajagopalan: Yeah, my father was a was an Indian diplomat so every three years we had to shuffle around But thanks.

So first of all, thanks a lot Bob , I always enjoy being on your podcast. I know we've known each other now for over a decade since my time at Trez. Which again , I've been at Trez now for 12 of the 27 years Trez has been in his In existence. Purely real estate. We everything in the capital stack from senior mortgages, all the way down to joint venture, private equity investments, on behalf of Canadian institutions, pensions, direct clients, as well as wealth advisory network.

And we manage now, five and a half billion dollars on behalf of all of those constituents.

As you pointed out, Trez really started its roots in Canada, but over the last decade or so, we've really focused in on the United States with a real boots on the ground strategy with our offices. As, you know, Bob, you visited in Dallas and Miami and New York and Seattle. And now we're opening up an office in Arizona as well.

Really there's some macro thesis there that we've been following now for about 10 years. I think everyone here, my colleagues here will will attest to the fact that, you know, real estate can be a somewhat simpler game. If you're following things like population, growth, employment, growth, those macro factors, and that's what we're doing in the U.S.

And so it's been a very good run. As I said, we've been delivering sort of consistent returns, not unlike my colleagues here for, for investors and something we're very proud about.

Bob Simpson: Yeah, no, that's perfect. Vikram. We have known each other for a long time. That's, uh, I was just trying to count on my fingers.

Used them all up. Anyway, Cynthia, just in this, you know, you mentioned a multi-family investing, you know, which is really investing in apartment buildings. But your firm lends to this asset class. So, you know, if you look at the multi-family space today, what are you seeing?

Cynthia Maisonneuve: Yeah, I can really speak to the multi-family space in Canada and Vik could probably speak to that more in the U.S. So we're going to look at this, from a couple different angles and not to really oversimplify it, but it really does come down to supply and demand as Vik had mentioned. So on the investing side, the affordability issues combined with massive influxes of immigration, high population growth, have led to substantial increases in demand for this rental product, which has had really two impacts.

One being large scale increases in in rental rates across Canada and two, that there is this limited supply to meet that demand, which results in low vacancy rates. So what this is really doing is creating strong tailwinds for multi family cash flows, which is also supporting valuation on these assets and has done so in a higher rate environment.

Something to note, which we did see last year, CMLS does a lot of business with CMHC loans as as a bit of a take out in terms of our short term debt . What we saw there with borrowers where we're seeing a bit of a bottleneck at CMHC. Just in terms of how many loans were submitted to them ahead of their deadline, which was really outstripping CMHC's capacity to process these loans quickly.

So that led to, extended timelines as loans made their way through that queue at CMHC. So the result was really that borrowers needed to find that interim financing while they waited for those loans to be processed. So that need for flexible private debt, is something that CMLS, well, the mortgage fund could assist with in the short term.

So borrowers were able to be provided with that debt, as they worked through that process.

Bob Simpson: So that's really your sweet spot, isn't it? Your sweet spot is when people are in line waiting to get the CMHC financing. Is that, that's part of your strategy?

Cynthia Maisonneuve: Part of the strategy would be that low duration.

Right, because the turnover would be anywhere between one to three years, and it's typically less than that. And just with that low LTV. So that was something that we did see last year. We're seeing now that CMHC has really worked through that process and we're seeing faster processing timelines for CMHC. So that need for that interim debt has decreased somewhat which is not a challenge for us as, as you mentioned, it is one of the sweet spots for us. But just because that, and I'll go back to what I talked about at the beginning here is that demand for the rental product far outweighs the supply.

So there's just so much need. For rental capacity in Canada, people are going to have to find or to build new multi-family buildings and that need for multi-family product and financing is still continuously a growing segment for the Canadian market.

Bob Simpson: Okay, just to keep the conversation flowing, Mike, I think it was 2 days ago.

I think you sent me your annual report on the music royalties fund. Now, honestly, I haven't had a chance to go through it, largely because I thought, well, Mike's going to be on the call anyway, let's find out from him what's happening in that space.

Michael Baker: Yeah, everyone wants to talk about the music royalty platform.

As you mentioned earlier, we do run capital in a number of different asset classes and our real estate business, for example, is significantly larger than our music royalties platform, but, given the kind of some of the tailwinds and interests there, I'm happy to have a deeper discussion on it.

And maybe just a couple of more general economic market related comments first. You know, I think that the last handful of years has, you know, been very different than say the decade following the global financial crisis, right? Like we've basically had a five year period where volatility is incredibly heightened.

We've seen credit yields go from basically glide pathing to zero. Moving up over 500 basis points higher at unprecedented speeds. And really what that's done is that it's made the job of capital allocators, people like yourselves, much harder, right? People are having to look a lot deeper into return profiles and correlations than they had in the past.

So maybe piggybacking off of that, you know, your question was about our music royalty platform, and I think that what we've built there addresses a lot of those concerns. We we've seen very strong growth in it, largely due to some of those factors. Now, this might be something that's slightly newer to many Canadians, but the reality is that many of the major institutional players of the world have been allocating here for a number of years now.

But the backbone of what we're doing here is that when you hear music, really, if you hear music anywhere or digest music anywhere, whoever owns the intellectual property related to that title is getting paid royalty, right? So regardless of the fact that, you know, if you hear a title in an elevator or on your radio or, you know, on a music streaming app like Spotify or a fitness class or even in a concert, whoever owns that intellectual property is getting paid because that music has to be licensed.

So our business model here is, is pretty simple. We're essentially just acquiring catalogs. And when I say the term catalog, it basically means a collection of individual songs and we're acquiring these catalogs by paying a multiple on the trail and cashflow. And our business model is incredibly simple from there with the point being that we want to just basically own these assets in perpetuity and provide our investors with an income stream and a cashflow that has, you know, very low correlation to broader economic market or bond related, factors.

Bob Simpson: No, that's perfect. So Vik, you know, you're, you're one of my go-to guys, I think I've talked about that in the past. I always appreciate your broad view of what's happening out there in the marketplace.

Just fill us in a little bit on kind some of the things that you're seeing in the private debt, cause you, you overlap both on the debt side and the equity side. What are you seeing out there?

Vikram Rajagopalan: Well, I'm going to take one of Michael's points is that obviously our jobs are a lot tougher today than it's ever been.

If you want to put us down to people who are raising capital, I've always said, you know, when I started Trez, the job was relatively easier. I mean, interest rates were going down. People really were looking for yield and quite frankly, you know, if you had a track record and you had a good name and a good management team, you were going to raise the money.

And so I think as you sit here today you know, the private debt space or the private alternative space is maturing for sure. There's still a lot more people that have adapted, but quite frankly, a lot of these things are becoming a lot are becoming mainstream.

And at interest rates where they are today, investors have a lot more options to take on some of these yields in both the public and private markets. And so we've just have to work harder in terms of differentiating ourselves and how we fit in portfolios, both under private debt and equity space.

But I think the most important thing is that we are being held to a higher level of transparency, governance, all of those things that really were very little talked about when I started at Trez years ago. It's not a lot about the returns. I think we all, everyone here is here because they deliver very solid returns to the investors.

It's all of the things that I like to call operational due diligence. How big is your company? What is, you know, what are the. Standards that you have conflicts of interest, and I use the T word transparency. I think the biggest criticism that the marketplace has of alternatives is that they feel that it's opaque.

They feel that they don't get as much information from it as they do in the public market. And I think ultimately behooves us as this industry and and and the people at the top of it to lead the way in that transparency and make sure investors feel more comfortable with the asset class.

Unfortunately, my bone of contention has always been that in the public markets are bad stories every week and they don't seem to be highlighted as much as if there's a bad apple in our space. As soon as, as something goes wrong in our space, it is then put as a blanket statement to engulf all of us.

And that is a big part of my own personal frustration, because for every one bad apple out there, there's 20 of us that are very, very good at what we do, present company included. And so I think, we're held to higher standards now than we ever have. And that's good. I think that's really, really good.

Because again, low interest rates drove a lot of new entrants into this market, a lot of alternatives. Quote on quote, we're putting the market. So, again, the higher standards tougher barriers of entry can only be better, but it shouldn't go all the way to the other side where innovative products, stuff that Michael talked about things like, music royalties, or you've got mortgage funds or anything of those nature.

There should be a democratization of it where investors have access to it and can do their own due diligence, devoid of all the noise out there. So, I think that that's the biggest thing I think is, you know, personally, for a firm like Trez is spending on a lot of that infrastructure and, really preparing for all the tsunami of questions that are coming at us now today.

The average investor today is obviously exponentially more educated in the space than they were 10 years ago. And I'm sure my colleagues would, would, would agree to that. The questions that are coming here today are far more sophisticated. The gap between institutional and retail is, is actually in my estimation, that gap is actually coming closer in terms of the questioning around what's happening here.

And I think that bodes well, but I think we have to step up to the plate and be better as well In answering some of those some of those questions and it's just going to be forced upon us to be honest.

Bob Simpson: Yeah, and I think you were giving Private Debt and Equity credit for closing that gap completely, right?

Like it's all it's all because of us

Vikram Rajagopalan: Well, look, I think things like Private Debt and Equity, your website , is a big part of it to get people to go in there, learn concepts, learn things that they wouldn't normally learn on a fun fact sheet. I think those things are very important. The word is education, where you want to invest ultimately your capital is your choice, but make sure you're again, all that information is disseminated to the investor.

And again, portals like I'll call it a portal like PD&E help exponentially in that.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. And that's exactly why we're here.

Cynthia Maisonneuve: I'll jump on what Vikram was talking about in terms of transparency, and even education just around your website and what you're doing with investors. And just something that we've done collectively here, as a group of individuals in the asset management space is come up with the Alt by Alt conference, which is going to shed some light on some of the issues that we have seen. Or been, you know, just try to, unpaint all of us with that brush that we've been painted with and provide a little bit more education to advisors and portfolio managers on May 15th with our Alt by Alt conference.

Bob Simpson: And we look forward to that and we'll give you a bit more of a plug on that more towards the end. Yeah Mike, we don't want to pigeonhole you on music royalties, although, you know, if people want to learn more, they can go and watch the David Vanka, interview over on our website. But, you know, talk about some of the things that you're seeing in the world of real estate, for example.

Michael Baker: Yeah, I think, you know, Vik did a pretty good job giving you a highlight of, of kind of real estate 101, right? If you, if, if you're investing capital where there's net population growth, job growth, wage growth, then those are markets that you're going to want to be more active in, right? And right now what we're seeing is that, you know, there's, there's obviously pockets of the Canadian market a la multi-family apartments that are experiencing some of those tailwinds, but on the U S side of things, it's, it's a pretty bifurcated market, right?

You're seeing asset types like multi-family industrial, for example, that are experiencing still very high rent growths. And then on the flip end of the spectrum, you're seeing assets that are struggling, right? People have, people own long duration assets with yield costs that are now significantly higher than they were a couple of years ago.

Well, that's going to create downward pressure on asset pricing. So it is a very, very bifurcated market right now. There's still certainly tons of pockets of opportunity. From a geographic perspective, you know, I think you want to be in those markets where, where you're seeing net population migration.

From a U.S. perspective, that's certainly dominated by kind of these sunbelt states. You're seeing kind of large population exodus leaving coastal and Midwest markets and moving towards the, uh, Arizona's, Texas, Georgia's, Florida's, Carolina's of the world. And I think that, you know, real estate is never easy, but when you, when you have the advantage of some of those tailwinds, it makes everybody's job a little bit easier, right?

Vikram Rajagopalan: And just to go on Michael's point, what fascinates me about the difference sometimes with the U.S. versus the Canadian story. Of course, the Canadian story is one of external migration and the one in the U. S. is a story as Michael pointed out, of internal migration, is that American's propensity to move is exponentially higher than the Canadian's propensity to move.

I joked around with an investor earlier today that, moving from Toronto to Montreal is a four year, five year decision of a family in the United States within a five year span. They probably lived in three different cities and moved their entire family from Ohio to Dallas to Florida and they're very transient society.

And, and I think that that leads to a whole different type of real estate market than it does in Canada. Like, I mean, internally, we were amazed during COVID. I mean, you would think that a pandemic would have slowed down, you know, the last thing on your mind is, by the way, I want to lower my state income tax so let's move from California, Texas, but it didn't. Right? Amazingly enough, people still moved. And I think that that is a part of it that I think differentiates if you're doing U.S. real estate is to keep track of those demographic shifts, because they're moving here in Canada you only have to keep track of three major cities, four major cities.

And that's where most of the immigration actually happens in the U. S. You have to keep your eye on the ball, right? Because, you know, what is hot today, you know, there will be another town that is the Carolinas is Michael pointed out. Carolinas have become very, very popular of late.

And so it's amazing to watch some of these companies gravitate to places like Carolinas where the Carolinas weren't really spoken about a lot between, say, 13 and 15. So you keep an eye on where people are moving.

Michael Baker: And it's happening on a corporate basis as much as it's happening on a personal basis, right?

Like they're, every day it seems like you're reading headlines around businesses leaving the New Yorks and the Californians of the world for some of these Sunbelt states because they offer things like the lack of state tax and easier to attract employees and better talent pools.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. Vik, you were talking about migration in the U.S. and, you know, part of the traffic issues in the U.S. is every other vehicle is a U-Haul trailer, right?

Vikram Rajagopalan: Well, and this is the stat that I always tell investors to look at. It's a U-Haul index, which is both funny and very salient to this point. As everyone here knows, it costs way more to take a U-Haul from place people want to leave to go to than the other way around. And if you look at historical U-Haul index, say, LA to Dallas, you'll notice a 4 to 1 ratio of moving from one to the other.

The same from New York to a place like Orlando. You'll notice a big ratio from U-Haul index, the cost of a U-Haul from New York to a place like Orlando, then vice versa, which again, tells you everything you need to know about where people are moving. It seems so simple, the U-Haul index. I mean, someone's got to keep track of it.

And there are economists that do. It tells you everything you, you sort of need to know where people are moving.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. One factor that, you know, we're starting to see or hear more about is just the leverage factor in real estate. You know, as a lender, you look at it from a whole different angle, right?

Like you're looking at what kind of equity can we establish in this portfolio to protect the investor, right? Talk about that for a sec, because I think people want to understand, you know, is this a highly levered investment or is it conservative?

Cynthia Maisonneuve: That's a question, it's a good one that I actually get quite a bit and it's where we're going to differ as a non bank lender.

There's so many headlines that you're seeing with the banks and Canadians who are over leveraged for us, we're looking at low LTV, so we're going to make sure that there's that equity ahead of us. That's going to provide us with a bit of cushion if there is any loss in value on the assets.

But that again is going to be how we're going to be a difference from say a borrower who is borrowing from a bank today.

Bob Simpson: Yeah. Now on the real estate side, Mike, talk about some of the investors in real estate where they're pretty highly levered, right? How is that affecting the market right now?

Is that creating opportunities or is that you believe that's going to cause trouble as we move forward?

Michael Baker: Well, leverage is an interesting subject matter, right? Because it enhances returns when things are going well and provides huge headwinds when things are going poorly. And I think that you know, as to maybe some general comments that the people that have gotten to the most challenges during this period of heightened rate environment that we're in right now are people that owned assets that are less desirable, but coupled that with. leverage rates that are too high.

And that basically means that people have got out over their skis. And I think we are starting to see a lot of that in certain pockets of the market. You know, my comments earlier around where you want to be investing and why doesn't mean that it's going to translate a hundred percent of the time into successful results, right?

Real estate still requires high degree of touch, high degree of, performance excellence, but when you are investing with the tailwinds and not into the headwinds, it just makes the job easier, right?

Vikram Rajagopalan: Yeah. I think if you look at the five C's of credit, and I think, I think you, I think people tend to focus a lot on this leverage aspect of it, but ultimately it comes down to collateral capacity, all of those things of your, of your borrower.

And I think all of us would agree that, you know, you, you take a high level of leverage on a great asset. Versus no leverage on an asset that that quite frankly, you know, will default at the first sign of stress. So I think to Michael's point as private lenders and Cynthia as well will agree with as private lenders, it still comes down to your underwriting of the asset, ensuring that you can exit out of the asset.

All of those things do matter a lot, more than again, sometimes leveraging the leverage that you do real estate ultimately is a leverage play, right? I mean that is that is ultimately what makes money in real estate in some iota, that's how you use it effectively and in what in what shape or form?

You do it. Are you doing it at a loan level in terms of loan sharing? Which is again where where you share the loan with their top institution? Are you doing it at your fund level or you're taking on just a line of credit and tacking it on to the fund to obviously get enhanced returns.

Both those things act very differently at different times. So again leverage is obviously I think it's a big word and, and I think it has to be looked at in a more micro perspective. But as a lender, ultimately, it's, it's collateral. Right. And your borrower's capacity to pay. And I think that those are all those things that I think, to Michael's point, we can make it seem really easy.

You follow the population, follow the employment. Anyone can do that. It ultimately comes down to this underwriting at the, at the loan level. And a lot of us are short term lenders, right? I mean, we're not, we're not sticking around here. You know, when someone borrows from Trez, their first goal is to get out of Trez, right?

And, and so, you know, for us, that's why all so much of the heavy lifting is done at the beginning because no one's in here for 5, 7 years, right? And so the more you get things done at the beginning, the more heightened level of success you're going to have on the exit in a couple of years.

Bob Simpson: Yeah, no, I agree.

So I think we're probably up against the clock a little bit here. Final thoughts, Cynthia. Final thoughts. You know, what's something that you think would be a point of interest for people who are listening to this podcast that they can walk away and You know, maybe take some advantage of in the future.

Cynthia Maisonneuve: Yeah, I think what you're doing for investors and advisors is fantastic just in terms of maybe providing a little more context on these private assets and providing some transparency and some education We're not all painted with the same brush. So due diligence is so important to take the time to really understand what you are investing in.

And, and I think that we've all done a great job contributing to your, to your website today.

Bob Simpson: Yeah, no, I appreciate it. Michael, final thoughts.

Michael Baker: Yeah, I'm excited that Canada is getting the attention that I think it deserves. Right. I mean, I think if you look at traditionally portfolio construction in Canada has kind of lagged on the wealth management side and led on the institutional side.

Right. I mean, the Canadian pensions have long been global gold standards for, for asset allocation. And I think for a long time, the call it private wealth space has Has lagged behind what the U.S. is doing in terms of incorporating things like alternative assets. So I'm excited that I feel like we're making progress towards institutionalizing our wealth management platforms in Canada, more push for independence, more transparency.

You know, looking at return drivers on look through basis and not doing just more of the traditional diversification of, of adding more of the same.

Bob Simpson: You know, I think just to explain to our listeners that our major focus is to educate the public while we educate the public. We're also educating the financial advisor community about private markets as well.

And Vikram, you and Cynthia are doing the alt by alt conference, maybe just a plug, give you a plug here. Tell us a bit more in detail, you know, both Vikram and Cynthia, tell us a bit about Alt by Alt's here.

Vikram Rajagopalan: The idea of Alt by Alts is, I'll have to give credit to Cynthia coming up with this crazy idea and approaching me.

I think Cynthia, what was it, a year ago, approaching me and somehow convincing me to become a conference organizer with her. But really, the crux of it was very simple, Bob. I mean, ultimately we needed to take back the narrative. We needed to educate the public. We needed to control it with the providers.

Oh, look, at the end of the day, we're all vying for the same dollar. We're all talking to Bob Simpson and hoping that, you know, he gives us a Trez or ICM or CMLS more money. But, let that be bob's decision. Let that not be biased to again narratives that I don't think are very true. And I think that that was the crux of it bringing us all together to educate. And again, I think to also on the on the flip side show that the Canadian, alternative space is a very good one. Like I know people are gravitating and looking elsewhere around the world, but here in your backyard of Canada, they're very very good managers. We can all, play in the same sandbox, delivering great returns for investors.

It is a diversification. And the second part is, you know, none of us here are, are, we're not fighting the public markets. Public exposure in your portfolio is still very vital. None of us are saying to put 100 percent of your money in any one of us or an alternative. It was a thing of diversification.

Again, there's a narrative that somehow, sometimes I feel like people think that we're pushing for people to have 100 percent and not the public market. It's not an either or right. It is a complimentary set. The more it grows, you reduce the volatility in your portfolio and you've got your publics as well out there for your growth and somehow your liquidity.

And so this really drove the Alt by Alt conference to educate people. I think I'll speak for Cynthia. We're very excited, in terms of the uptake on it, how we all came together. Including Michael, thank you and ICM and, and really educating everyone else. So we've got really the, what I would say is the cream of the crop of the Canadian alternative sponsors in this and, and excited to really educate our audience and again I've sort of said the good, the bad, the ugly, let's get it all out there and let's really educate our audience. Cynthia, I don't know if you have anything to add beyond that.

Cynthia Maisonneuve: No, great, great summary.

Bob Simpson: Vik, you did a good job. I know when you talked about today's panelists, you did previously refer to the good, the bad and the ugly, but I'm not sure which was, would catch that label.

Um, but anyway, so if there is a financial advisor who wishes to attend the Alt by Alt conference, what do they do?

Cynthia Maisonneuve: They can reach out to, to Vik or I, or Michael, any one of your sales contacts that you work with at any of the alternative, managers. It's a, it's a long list, but, um, you could start with, with either of us, any of us here on the, on the podcast.

Bob Simpson: On the panel. Yep. Or if somebody's interested, just get in touch with us and we'll pass you.

Vikram Rajagopalan: I like to describe the alt by alt as the conference version of your website. Right. Yeah. And so, so after the conference, hopefully people who are more readers will just, they can go and read the concepts right on your website afterwards.

Bob Simpson: That's right. Yeah. Okay. Well, that's perfect. Just to wrap things up, thanks to today's panelists, to Cynthia, to Mike and to Vikram. We appreciate all of you and your insights today. Now it's important that before making investment decisions, it's crucial to consult a professional financial advisor to determine suitability. Full Disclaimers are available on Don't forget to follow us on your preferred podcast platform. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay tuned. For new episodes, in closing, I'm Bob Simpson. It's been a pleasure to guide you through this conversation today. This has been fun. This has been fun with our panelists today.

Remember that knowledge empowers you to make well informed investment decisions and progress towards your financial objectives until we meet again. Stay focused, stay disciplined on your financial journey, and we'll catch up with you next time. Thanks for listening.

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