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iCapital Adds Morgan Stanley to Big-Name Investors

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Morgan Stanley announced last week that it has invested an undisclosed amount in alternatives platform iCapital. Along with the investment, Morgan Stanley will extend iCapital’s proprietary technology and services to its advisors and their clients.

ICapital Network is an online portal that gives investors access to private equity, private credit, venture capital, real estate and hedge fund investments. As of June 30, the platform has more than $2.25 billion in private fund subscriptions for more than 3,500 investors across, and has an investor network of more than 1,800 registered entities overseeing more than $1.7 trillion in investable assets, the company noted in a statement.

(Related: Institutional Investors’ Allocations to Alts Gather Steam)

“We’re very excited about” the partnership, Lawrence Calcano, CEO of iCapital, told ThinkAdvisor. “Obviously, Morgan Stanley is a world-class organization, and the fact that they had confidence in iCapital, both to invest and to partner with us and [adopt] our workflows to bring product to the marketplace is very exciting.”

Calcano noted that Morgan Stanley recognized that the independent marketplace needs help with technology support.

“They’re relying on the iCapital software and service stack to support their efforts into the marketplace,” he said.

“Endowments and pension funds have long embraced alternatives as an important component of their overall investment programs. Many high-net-worth investors, in our view, are underallocated to alternatives relative to their institutional counterparts,” Dan Simkowitz, Head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, said in a statement.

Simkowitz said iCapital’s platform has “has significantly improved the client experience for individual investors” and their advisors by removing “many of the operational impediments that high-net-worth investors face when seeking to increase their commitments to these strategies.”

The iCapital platform has already attracted investments from BlackRock, in December 2016, and UBS, earlier this month. With Morgan Stanley’s investment, iCapital’s total funding to date is over $50 million.

— Read Merrill vs Morgan: Q2 Earnings, Wealth Results on ThinkAdvisor.