Alternative investments have gathered the attention and interest of financial planners. According to a Financial Planning Association Survey, nearly half of advisors reported using or recommending some form of alternatives. While alternative investments may not be a silver bullet for difficult times, they can provide the diversification sought by long-term investors.
When it comes to alternative investment competency, however, the private wealth management industry needs focused tools and education. Broader consumer access to alternative investment options is here and will continue to grow. Financial planners, in turn, require additional tools to educate themselves and help their clients understand these investment vehicles.
Alternative investments have grown considerably over the past two decades, accounting for an estimated 50% of global revenue in the asset management industry, despite representing only 21% of global assets under management (AUM), according to a Boston Consulting Group study. The growth in interest and AUM can be attributed to increased capital formation and value creation in private markets, a global decline in bond yields for the better part of a decade, and, more recently, volatile equity markets. Moreover, private equity and credit strategies have grown from cottage to mature industries, further widening the appeal of available investment options.
However, 2022, the worst year for a U.S. 60/40 portfolio in decades, highlighted the importance of expanding an investment toolkit beyond public equity and bond markets and a renewed focus on building better portfolios, embracing illiquidity, and emphasizing objectives.
Over several decades, large asset owners, including endowments, foundations, pensions, and sovereign wealth funds, embraced alternative investments, often allocating significant portions of their portfolios to these strategies. The most aggressive endowments were early adopters, the largest of which allocated upwards of 50% to alternative investments. In contrast, individual investors generally allocate less than 5% of their portfolios to alternatives. According to Bain, individual investors hold approximately 50% of global assets under management. Yet, those same investors represent just 16% of AUM held by alternative investment funds. As demand increases from prospective buyers, technology improves access. When new fund vehicles become available, the opportunity is significant but is also a clarion call for individual investor education.
Financial planners must understand alternative investments before recommending (or dissuading) their clients from investing. Planners and clients face challenges and concerns regarding liquidity, fund structures, tax implications, and fees associated with alternative investments. Addressing these concerns and enhancing comfort levels within the industry will require collaborative educational efforts across asset management, service providers, and advisors directly.
One such effort is the recent partnership between the CAIA Association, the global professional body for the alternative investments industry, and FPA, the membership organization and trade association for CFP professionals, which aims to provide broader access to educating the financial planning community on these topics.
Education is essential for financial planners and the long-term outcomes for their clients, even more so when considering alternative investments. The professionals closest to individual investors can diagnose and recommend what is appropriate for their clients, which lends to the value of adding to a planner’s toolkit. In doing so, financial planners continue to facilitate the learning path of individual investors and serve a vital role in contributing to financial literacy across American households.
Aaron Filbeck, CAIA, CFA, CFP®, CIPM, FDP, is managing director and head of UniFi by CAIA at CAIA Association. UniFi by CAIA is a learning platform dedicated to educating the private wealth management industry on alternative investments.
Patrick D. Mahoney is chief executive officer of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), the leading membership organization and trade association for Certified Financial Planner professionals and those engaged in the financial planning process.
In our fast-changing world, where financial crimes are getting more complicated, we really need experts who can stop these problems.
Riskpro is a special project started by Mayur Joshi in 2008. And it's like a guiding light to help people understand and fight against these crimes. Let's take a trip through the amazing tale of Riskpro Learning. Mayur Joshi explains the journey.
Over the past three years, Riskpro has had the privilege of training a remarkable cohort of 5000 students, spanning various industries and sectors. This diverse group of students has demonstrated commitment to fostering a safer, more secure financial environment.
Out of the 5000 students, a big 70% are Certified Anti Money Laundering Experts. Now, that's a special certification! And here's something cool: out of these experts, 85% work in important places like banks and finance companies. This shows that these banks and companies really value this certification.
You know what's even more special? This certification, called CAME, is made especially for
India. It's like a key that helps you understand the laws here and the changes that came in 2023. It's made just for Indian bankers, so they can be well equipped to combat financial crimes.
In a remarkable stride towards strengthening India's anti-money laundering (AML) and forensic capabilities, Riskpro, under the leadership of Mayur Joshi, has been spearheading a pioneering initiative called Indiaforensic. This cutting-edge training brand has been exclusively designed to provide India-specific courses and certifications. It has set the stage for a new chapter in India's fight against financial crimes. Identifying the critical gaps in expertise, Riskpro Learning has directed its efforts towards two key sectors: cooperative banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.
At the core of Riskpro's purpose is its range of compliance certifications designed specifically for India. These certifications are Certified Crypto Currency Laundering Expert (CCLE) and Certified KYC Expert (CKYCE).
Understanding the unique requirements of various sectors, Riskpro has created an in-depth certification course focused on cryptocurrency laundering. The Certified Crypto Currency Laundering Expert goes beyond the basics. It offers not only training videos and exams but also a variety of study materials. This course is taught in a classroom setting, with an industry expert leading live class.
At the heart of Riskpro Learning's lineup is the flagship Certified KYC Expert (CKYCE) program.
Designed with meticulous care, this comprehensive course targets entry-level professionals. While not every financial intermediary in India mandates Anti Money Laundering (AML) training, every employee facing customers requires a strong grasp of KYC guidelines. This program finds its perfect fit in co-operative banks and fintech companies, creating a more competent and compliant workforce.
At the center of Riskpro Learning's offerings shines the remarkable Certified KYC Expert (CKYCE) program. It's like a master class specially designed for those starting in the financial world. This program is perfect for people who work in co-operative banks and fintech companies. It's all about becoming better at what you do and making sure you're following the rules.
Imagine you're in a co-operative bank or somewhere a bit more remote. Sometimes there's not a lot of money to spend, and you need to make every penny count. This program is a lifesaver in situations like that. It focuses on the guidelines from RBI. It's like a rulebook for banks), and it comes with videos and easy-to-read materials. You'll even get practice questions to help you learn.
Riskpro's journey is one of empowerment and enlightenment. It's a journey that Mayur Joshi envisioned to transform the landscape of financial crimes, one certification at a time. Through Riskpro Learning, professionals are not just learning; they are becoming the frontline guardians of financial security.
Ed-tech institute, Imarticus Learning has announced the launch of its comprehensive US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) programme. This programme is specifically designed to provide aspiring accountants and finance professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their careers and obtain the CPA designation.
According to an official release, the CPA designation is recognised globally in over 130 countries and is one of the most reputed qualifications in the accounting and finance industry. CPAs are highly sought-after in the United States and outsourcing capitals like India, commanding lucrative salaries and offering diverse career prospects across various industries.
Imarticus Learning’s CPA programme distinguishes itself from other programmes with a variety of features. The programme includes a pass guarantee, ensuring that candidates who don’t pass all CPA examinations will receive a refund of 50% of the course fee on fulfillment of all criteria. Participants will have access to comprehensive course materials, including books, study materials, practice questions, and mock tests powered by Gleim, an internationally recognised content provider approved by the Association of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA).
The programme combines 100 plus hours of on-demand learning content, over 200 hours of live online classes, and personalised mentoring from highly qualified instructors, including CPAs, CFAs, CMAs, and CAs. Students will get the opportunity to gain practical learning experiences, such as MS Excel, Advanced Excel, Financial Modeling, and real-life case-based simulations. Furthermore, students will get 24/7 doubt-solving through the dual-teacher model. Optional internships, live projects and a pre-placement boot camp, are among other facilities provided under the course.
The CPA programme provides worldwide opportunities to students. The programme equips participants with expertise in US GAAP, audit, taxation, financial analysis and reporting, and international financial accounting, making them valuable across various profiles within financial services firms.
“With the global recognition of the CPA designation and the high demand for CPAs in the industry, we aim to provide a rigorous and practical learning experience that prepares our participants for success. Our partnership with AICPA and Gleim ensures that our programme aligns with industry standards, and our pass ensure feature demonstrates our commitment to the success of our students,” Nikhil Barshikar, managing director, CEO, Imarticus Learning, said.
Imarticus Learning is an accredited channel partner of AICPA, US, along with Gleim, an AICPA-approved global content provider. The programme aligns with AICPA’s rigorous curriculum, preparing participants for the CPA examinations, the release said.
“It’s been super helpful, especially for a working adult,” said Lloyd, who briefly attended college in the 1990s but felt that it wasn’t the right fit at the time. “College can be very expensive. But with this, it’s not as hard as you think.”
Dating back to 2017, Duke has invested nearly $16.1 million in helping its employees, including Lloyd, get a degree by providing reimbursement of up to $5,250 per calendar year for tuition at Duke or any other accredited higher education institution.
Earlier this year, Duke expanded the benefit, reducing the waiting period to become eligible from two years to six months. And in a move surpassing some peer institutions, Duke expanded the benefit from being exclusive to North Carolina schools to encompass institutions nationwide. The Watts College of Nursing in Durham has also been added as an eligible institution.
“When employees join the Duke family, we want to provide them with the stepping stones to help them continue to grow and build their careers,” said Antwan Lofton, Vice President of Duke Human Resources. “This benefit doesn’t just help them in their current job; it also allows them to continue working toward their dreams and their goals of lifelong learning.”
Workers have placed an increased value on pursuing educational goals or building skills. In its recent national employee benefits survey, the Society for Human Resource Management found that 65% of employees ranked professional and career development benefits, such as tuition assistance, as a very or extremely important benefit for an employer to offer. The figure is up from 37% in the previous year’s report, suggesting that employees are moving past pandemic-era uncertainty and looking toward their futures.
While Duke has expanded its benefit, the survey indicates a sluggish expansion of educational benefits among employers, with employee tuition assistance dropping from 56% in 2019 to 48% in 2022.
“This is a wonderful investment in Duke,” Lofton said of the benefit. “It ensures that we can continue to hire and retain the top skilled employees and allows them to further their careers.”
Meet some inspiring colleagues who have embarked on educational journeys that shaped their lives and propelled their careers forward.
CLINICAL NURSE, DUKE PRIMARY CARE
When she joined the staff of Duke Primary Care’s Heritage Pediatrics clinic in September of 2022, Taylor Chapman, a Clinical Nurse II, had been chipping away at a bachelor’s degree in nursing for more than a year. The degree would enable her to advance in nursing, potentially becoming a Clinical Nurse IV, and leading and mentoring a team.
She’d been paying her own way through the program at UNC Wilmington, taking one class at a time. When she started at Duke, she had four classes left. But without help, it would take another year to pay for them herself.
To make the employee tuition assistance program more accessible to new employees, such as Chapman, Duke reduced the eligibility waiting period from two years to six months. The move allowed Chapman to use the benefit to cover the costs of a final few classes. She will get her degree in December from UNC Wilmington, the most popular educational destination for Duke employees using the tuition benefit in 2021-22.
“This allows me to move the whole timeline up, which helps me a whole lot,” she said. “This just shows that Duke wants its nurses to be well-educated, and it’s willing to help them with that process.”
RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGIST, DUKE RALEIGH HOSPITAL
BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY
Starting this fall, Jason Raper’s schedule will be packed. He’ll have work shifts at Duke Raleigh Hospital, playground trips with his daughter Camila Grace and, after enrolling at Boise State University, plenty of college coursework.
“I hope this won’t be too insane,” said Raper, a radiologic technologist who has worked at Duke since 2015.
As he’s grown more comfortable in his role, and at Duke, Raper has explored opportunities to take on more responsibilities and new leadership challenges. And to do that, Raper, who earned an associate degree several years ago, saw an applied sciences bachelor’s degree as a solid foundation for his next career step at Duke. But when he looked at the degree programs in North Carolina, he felt they weren’t perfect fits.
Earlier this year, when Duke adjusted its employee tuition assistance benefit to allow any accredited institution in the U.S., things changed. Now able to search nationwide, Raper found Boise State’s online applied sciences bachelor’s degree program, which had the courses, price, and schedule to fit his already busy life.
“With Boise State, everything just kind of fell into place,” Raper said.
SHARED RESOURCE MANAGER, DUKE CANCER CENTER
DUKE GRADUATE LIBERAL STUDIES
After working in Duke labs for 39 years, Cheryl Bock knows her way around science. But as she goes about overseeing one of the research operations of the Duke Cancer Center, she often leans on skills she strengthened while learning about subjects that have little to do with science.
In 2001, Bock began the master’s degree program in Duke Graduate Liberal Studies. The flexible, self-designed program allowed Bock to sharpen her research and writing skills, while chasing her curiosity about a range of subjects. During her four years in the program, she spent time in England studying poetry, ventured to France to learn about the architecture of cathedrals, and wrote her thesis on formerly enslaved people who lived on South Carolina’s barrier islands.
“It was a lot of work, but I got a lot of value out of it,” said Bock, who used the tuition benefit to help pay for the degree, which she earned in 2005.
While it’s been nearly two decades since she finished the program, the experience is rarely far from her mind.
“This was about life enhancement and personal growth,” Bock said. “But the techniques I used writing papers and doing research are things I still use today.”
CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANT, DUKE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL
WATTS COLLEGE OF NURSING IN DURHAM
When he started working in a hospital environment four years ago, Dennis Ireri underestimated how much purpose he would find in interacting with patients. In his role as a certified nursing assistant on the float pool for Duke University Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital, Ireri often found himself sharing small moments with patients, offering comforting words and helping them through challenging times.
“I had no idea I could make that kind of impact,” said Ireri, who receives encouragement from his mother, Katherine, a longtime nurse. “If I could do more with more knowledge, then maybe this is my calling.”
During the 2021-22 fiscal year, 324 Duke University Hospital employees used the employee tuition assistance benefit, the most for any Duke unit. This fall, Ireri will contribute to that total by pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing from the Watts College of Nursing, which he chose partly due to its location in Durham and its eligibility for the Duke employee tuition assistance program starting in summer 2023.
The Watts College of Nursing, which is affiliated with Duke University Health System and accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, has been educating caregivers since 1895. Because it’s not among the institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, it wasn’t eligible for the Duke employee tuition assistance program until the benefit expanded this year.
“We have a need for highly trained nurses, and this helps us build our pipeline,” said Antwan Lofton, Vice President for
Duke Human Resources.
SENIOR WEB ACCESSIBILITY ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
In 2022, Joel Crawford-Smith completed a roughly two-year run of online courses and exams that left him with a pair of new professional web accessibility certifications and a desire for a new challenge.
“I really like to learn, so I thought ‘What do I do now?’” Crawford-Smith said. “Why not try to go to grad school?”
In Crawford-Smith’s role at Duke, he assesses Duke University’s online footprint to gauge the ease with which everyone, including people with disabilities, can use it. He also trains colleagues on web accessibility,
the part of his job he wants to strengthen.
This summer, Crawford-Smith began working toward a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte in learning, design and technology where he hopes to sharpen his ability to teach and create learning materials. His goal is to complete the online coursework in under two years.
“My job falls into a predictable rhythm,” Crawford-Smith said. “I just felt like I needed a little bit of a change, and this was a healthy risk. Why not try? Duke is hopefully going to get better training out of me, and I get to further my education. It’s a win-win.”
CLINICAL NURSE, DUKE RALEIGH HOSPITAL CANCER CENTER
UNIVERSITY OF MOUNT OLIVE
Kim Stephenson earned her nursing degree in 1993, kicking off a long caregiving career that eventually led to her joining the Head & Neck Oncology team at the Duke Raleigh Hospital Cancer Center in 2019.
With a wealth of research linking more educated nurses to better patient outcomes, Stephenson knew that for her career to move forward at Duke, she would need to go back to school. In the fall of 2022, at the age of 60, Stephenson, a Clinical Nurse III, enrolled in the online bachelor’s degree in nursing program at the University of Mount Olive.
Stephenson, who has used the employee tuition assistance benefit to help cover the costs of getting her degree, said that it took time for her to adjust to online courses and regain the feel for doing schoolwork. But soon, courses on law and ethics in nursing and nursing leadership gave her new perspectives on the decisions and methods that guide her work.
“I love learning,” said Stephenson, who expects to earn her degree in May 2024. “My mindset is to keep learning new things every day. You’re never too old to learn.”
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Imarticus Learning, a leading technology-driven professional ed-tech institute, is proud to announce the launch of its comprehensive US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) program. This program is specifically designed to provide aspiring accountants and finance professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their careers and obtain the prestigious CPA designation.
The CPA designation is recognised globally in over 130 countries and is one of the most reputed qualifications in the accounting and finance industry. CPAs are highly sought-after in the United States and outsourcing capitals like India, commanding lucrative salaries and offering diverse career prospects across various industries.
Imarticus Learning’s CPA program distinguishes itself from other programs with a variety of unique features. The program includes a pass guarantee, ensuring that candidates who don’t pass all CPA examinations will receive a refund of 50% of the course fee on fulfillment of all criteria. Participants will have access to comprehensive course materials, including books, study materials, practice questions, and mock tests powered by Gleim, an internationally recognised content provider approved by the Association of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA).
The program combines 100+ hours of on-demand learning content, 200+ hours of live online classes, and personalised mentoring from highly qualified instructors, including CPAs, CFAs, CMAs, and CAs. Practical learning experiences, such as MS Excel, Advanced Excel, Financial Modeling, and real-life case-based simulations, allow participants to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. In this programme, there will be an advantage of 24/7 doubt-solving through the dual-teacher model. Optional internships and live projects provide hands-on experience, and a pre-placement boot camp prepares participants for career success.
The global reach of the US CPA designation goes beyond the borders of India and the United States, presenting worldwide opportunities.
CPAs are in high demand by US companies and divisions of US-based multinational corporations in India. The program equips participants with expertise in US GAAP, audit, taxation, financial analysis and reporting, and international financial accounting, making them valuable across various profiles within financial services firms.
Imarticus Learning is an accredited channel partner of AICPA, US, and proudly collaborates with Gleim, an AICPA-approved global content provider. The program aligns with AICPA’s rigorous curriculum, preparing participants for the CPA examinations. In regards to live simulations, it is worth noting that Imarticus Learning holds accreditation with Capsim.
Nikhil Barshikar, Managing Director & CEO at Imarticus Learning, said, “This program equips aspiring accountants and finance professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their careers. With the global recognition of the CPA designation and the high demand for CPAs in the industry, we aim to provide a rigorous and practical learning experience that prepares our participants for success. Our partnership with AICPA and Gleim ensures that our program aligns with industry standards, and our pass ensure feature demonstrates our commitment to the success of our students. We are excited to empower individuals and contribute to their professional growth in the accounting and finance field.”