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Going closed-ended for alternatives

2 July 2019

AIC to host adviser seminars in autumn focused on alternative assets.

  • Seminars will cover debt, infrastructure, private equity and property
  • Online CPD courses on property and private equity also available

The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) is running two seminars in the autumn focusing on property, private equity, infrastructure and debt. The free training events are aimed at advisers and wealth managers who wish to understand more about these asset classes and how to access them using closed-ended investment companies.

The suspension of LF Woodford Equity Income has reignited a debate about the correct fund structure for holding illiquid assets, such as property and unquoted companies. Just over a third of investment company assets (£65 billion)* are invested in property, infrastructure, private equity and less liquid forms of debt.

Hosted by Nick Britton, Head of Intermediary Communications at the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), the seminars will throw light on the strategies that investment company managers use when investing in illiquid assets, the benefits and risks of exposure to alternatives, and how the closed-ended structure can help when investing in these asset classes.

The seminars will be held in Birmingham on 18 September and in London on 10 October. A portfolio manager representing each of the four alternative asset classes (debt, infrastructure, private equity and property) will speak at each seminar. Full details, including a list of speakers, are below and online.

Nick Britton, Head of Intermediary Communications at the Association of Investment Companies (AIC), said: “We are often asked by advisers and wealth managers to run more training on alternative assets. Interest has only increased in recent years, following the suspensions of several open-ended property funds after the EU referendum and of course the events of the past few weeks, which have focused attention on which fund structures are right for which assets.

“But quite rightly, people also want to understand the risks, and why they should include alternative assets in clients’ portfolios. These seminars will lay out the opportunities in different alternative asset classes and explain how managers of closed-ended funds seek to select the best of these opportunities while mitigating the various risks.”

Learning Zone

Online training on property and private equity investment companies is also available on the AIC’s website within Learning Zone, the organisation’s e-learning portal. A further course on infrastructure investment companies will be released soon.

All of the AIC’s online training is free of charge and accredited by professional bodies, the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).

Details of the AIC Alternatives Seminars

The BIRMINGHAM seminar will be held on Wednesday 18 September 2019, from 11.30 to 14.30, at the Marriott Forest of Arden, Maxstoke Lane, Meriden CV7 7HR. The guest speakers are: Jason Baggaley (Standard Life Investments Property Income), Phil Kent (GCP Infrastructure Investments), Andrew Lebus (Pantheon International) and Pietro Nicholls (RM Secured Direct Lending).

The LONDON seminar will be held on Thursday 10 October 2019, from 9.00 to 12.00, at the ICAEW, One Moorgate Lane, London, EC2R 6EA. The guest speakers are: Ron Miao (Hadrian’s Wall Secured Investments), Emma Osborne (ICG Enterprise), Chris Tanner (John Laing Environmental Assets) and Steve Windsor (Supermarket Income REIT).

Both seminars are hosted by Nick Britton, Head of Intermediary Communications at the Association of Investment Companies (AIC). The learning objectives are as follows:

  • Identify some of the main opportunities and risks presented by four alternative asset classes (direct property, private equity, infrastructure and illiquid debt) and the roles they might play in portfolios
  • Explain how closed-ended investment companies access these asset classes
  • Understand the specific strategies of four portfolio managers investing in these asset classes

The seminars are endorsed by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) and designed to provide at least 2 hours 15 minutes of structured CPD.

Financial advisers and wealth managers who wish to reserve a free place at one of the seminars can book via the AIC website, or by contacting Debra Gibbons on 020 7282 5572 or


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  1. Total industry assets of £190bn on 31/05/19, of which £65bn (34%) is in investment companies that invest primarily in debt, infrastructure, private equity and property.
  2. The Association of Investment Companies (AIC) was founded in 1932 to represent the interests of the investment trust industry – the oldest form of collective investment.  Today, the AIC represents a broad range of closed-ended investment companies, incorporating investment trusts and other closed-ended investment companies and VCTs. The AIC’s members believe that the industry is best served if it is united and speaks with one voice. The AIC’s mission statement is to help members add value for shareholders over the longer term. The AIC has 360 members and the industry has total assets of approximately £190 billion.
  3. Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation and it is not an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity. You should seek independent financial and, if appropriate, legal advice as to the suitability of any investment decision. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.  The value of investment company shares, and the income from them, can fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the full amount invested and, in some cases, nothing at all.
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