Alternative Investment Industry Leaders Say Investing in Innovation is Top Priority for CEOs in 2019, CAIS Survey Finds

February 25, 2019 10:13 am |
CAIS19 Chris Duggan

GRAND CAYMANCayman Islands — The Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) today announced the results of its recent survey of approximately 100 alternative investors and managers in attendance at its sixth annual conference, which took place February 6-8, 2019 in the Cayman Islands. The survey results highlight the industry topics that drove conversations among attendees both on and off stage at CAIS through its theme, “Tech-Tonic Shift: Innovation in Alternative Investments.”

When asked about their 2019 priorities, two-thirds of respondents believe that investing in innovation should be the top priority for CEOs and C-suite executives, far outpacing building trust with employees (19%), evaluating workplace policies (9%) and growing jobs and wages (6%).

“More than ever before, the alternative investment industry is experiencing a dramatic technological shift, and financial services firms realize they will need to incorporate innovation into their investment processes and business operations or otherwise risk falling behind their peers,” said Chris Duggan, Director of CAIS and VP of Business Development for event sponsor, Dart. “This year’s survey results demonstrate that the alternatives industry has finally reached a tipping point, recognizing the undeniable impact of technology on the future of global markets.”

Looking specifically at the tech-related shifts most anticipated to influence markets, survey respondents believe automation and machine learning (45%) and blockchain technologies (38%) are likely to have the biggest near-term impact globally.

At CAIS, high-profile industry speakers led discussions on top-of-mind issues ranging from understanding the power of the robotics revolution and embedding artificial intelligence into investment decisions to targeting specific strategies for delivering impact and turning global volatility into opportunity.

When asked about the global markets more broadly, key survey highlights include:

  • Government Instability Causing Volatility: 38 percent of respondents believe signs of government instability, such as Brexit and the US government shutdown, will be most to blame for a market correction. Other factors driving volatility include a private credit bubble (26%), trade tensions with China (21%), and tightening monetary policy (15%).
  • Investors Divided Over ESG: Nearly 40 percent of respondents identified pressure from the general public or government officials as the primary driver behind investors’ growing interest in responsible investing. This pressure outweighed a commitment to helping solve the world’s challenges (28%), recognition of ESG as material to performance (22%), and a herd mentality to keep up with other investors (10%).
  • Cryptocurrency as a Bubble: Investors believe cryptocurrency is the asset class that most represents a bubble right now (45%), as compared to US equities (20%), the leveraged loan market (19%), and private credit (16%).

The survey of nearly 100 respondents was collected during the 2019 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in the Cayman Islands on February 6-8, 2019. The annual event convened over 400 institutional investors, fund managers, academics, economists, regulators and service providers to discuss the latest trends, technologies and challenges disrupting the alternative investment industry.

Notable speakers at CAIS came from across the alternative investment industry and included Ian Bremmer of Eurasia Group, Nancy Davis of Quadratic Capital Management, Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz, Dr. Jianbo Lu of Ford Motor Company, Eileen Murray of Bridgewater Associates, Fahmi Quadir of Safkhet Capital and Bettina Warburg of Animal Ventures.

About the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit
The Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) is an annual conference that convenes leading thinkers and decision makers from diverse segments of the global alternatives industry to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities that will define the future of the industry. Hosted by Dart Enterprises in partnership with KPMG, CAIS is a not-for-profit event dedicated to supporting financial services both in the Cayman Islands and internationally.

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