New adviser peer support group kicks off

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A new national peer support group has been set up to help advisers to access information about often-tricky alternative investments strategies.

The Real Return User Group was set up by adviser consultant Philip Reid, who saw the need for such a group after talking to many advisers wanting extra support and education about incorporating non-traditional managing strategies – like alternative and hedge funds – into clients’ portfolios.

The new group has 12 advisers and four fund managers who have met twice this month to decide on the structure. Briefing papers will go out to advisers nationwide after the group’s next meeting in February.

“There’s great benefit in advisers coming together. It’s a like-minded peer group and we’re all trying to help our clients. By getting advisers together all facing the same problems, more is discussed and solved,” Reid told Wealth Professional.

The group is aiming to gain better education, access expertise, and develop tools for reporting and monitoring. Reid said it is sometimes difficult for smaller advisory groups to access information, and this peer group will help.

He stresses it is adviser-led and not about fund managers. “It’s not a beauty parade of 50 fund managers who are going to pitch their products to a room of advisers. Advisers will set the agenda because it’s a peer support group. It’s not about changing attitudes to anything. The glue is – all the advisers agree they need to access non-traditional managing strategy support.”

Pengana Capital head of distribution Damian Crowley is another person involved in setting up the group.

He said because real return fund structures can be more complex, there are different challenges around education for clients and advisers. Challenges such as limits on platform availability, risk monitoring and reporting, portfolio implementation and issues around PI insurance.

The group is likely to meet four times a year, with constant support given over LinkedIn. There will be a small fee, likely around $1000, to join and fund projects, said Crowley.

“Perhaps an adviser has seen something that would work for the rest of the group. They can pool funds and get a specialist to compile a report.  
“The group’s going to prioritise the things they want to work on; it’s up to the advisers to say these are the most important things to work on over next six months.”

Advisers already involved include WLM Financial Services head Matthew Walker, Northstar Financial Advisers head Alistair Saunders and More4Life Financial Services head James Walker-Powell.

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