This is Jon Sundt’s first appearance on the IA 25. Click here to view the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles for each of the 2013 IA 25 honorees.
Jon Sundt doesn’t have time for pleasantries. He’s got too much going on. He’s in liquid alternatives, after all.
“There is a tremendous demand for liquid alternatives, and in particular the products we’ve recently introduced,” Sundt, president and CEO of Altegris Investments, said at the outset of our interview. “I believe it’s a historic time for the industry. Return expectations are coming down for hedge fund managers and, in the wake of 2008, investors are afraid of lockups.”
Hence the demand for something more liquid, which means managers who “would not have looked at a mutual fund product a few years ago are looking at them now. They’re looking for more capital as well as looking to diversify. The retail investor base is where the capital is, and alternatives offer a number of ways to diversify.”
All of this explains the firm’s success; it’s at the nexus of these critical—and lucrative—trends.
“We believe every investor deserves access to quality managers,” Sundt emphatically stated. “We’re open-architecture and put best-of-breed managers into packages that retail investors can consume. As a result, from a distribution standpoint, we’re on all the major wirehouse platforms, and we’re running as hard as we can to complete our product suite.”
He pointed to two new products as proof; a multi-strategy fund that “gives an advisor access to 20 managers with the click of a mouse,” as well as a fixed-income long/short fund that is in “an incredibly attractive space right now.”
The excitement that seems to naturally flow from Sundt translates to the firm’s annual Strategic Investment Conference as well. The 2013 lineup of speakers was described by one attendee as “intimidating.” With Jeffrey Gundlach, Mohamed El-Erian, Nouriel Roubini, Ian Bremmer, Gary Shilling and David Rosenberg, among others, it’s easy to see why.
“The Strategic Investment Conference is a byproduct of what we do, which is to bring together top managers and economic thought leaders to capitalize on their perspective,” Sundt noted. “This is the 10th one we’ve done.”
Very well, but how exactly does he attract such talent?
“Well, San Diego is nice,” he laughed, before adding, “We have a good reputation in the industry. We have advisors in the audience that these managers want to get in front of.”
The type of people Mohamed El-Erian wants to get in front of; we think Sundt’s on to something.