United States

Alternative Investments Luminaries: What is to Come in 2015

Jan 30, 2015
From the KPMG Institutes

The Los Angeles alternative investments community gathered on Thursday, January 29 for several high-level discussions at the KPMG Alternative Investments Thought Leadership Exchange held at The London West Hollywood. A standing-room only crowd converged to hear industry luminaries share their respective experiences, insights and visions for 2015 and beyond.

Fireside Chat with Doug Kass

The program was segmented into three discussions, with the first segment featuring a “fireside chat” between noted investor, author, and television personality Doug Kass, and Vincent Calcagno, KPMG Audit partner and market leader for the Southern California Alternative Investments practice. The casual discussion weaved in and out of Kass’ upbringing and his time at Princeton University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania as he spoke of how his youth and college years shaped and influenced his work ethic, perspective on life, sense of humor, career path, and investment philosophy.

During the course of the conversation, Kass shared interesting tales that included his passion for pop-culture which he incorporates into his opinions of the investment market. Interesting anecdotes from his interactions with Warren Buffett added depth and insight to his broader view of the market and the various influences that impact opinion and market performance.

Several of the stories Kass shared are in his book titled, “Doug Kass on The Market – A life on the Street.” Autographed copies of the book – a compilation of Kass’ personal experiences and published articles – were given to attendees. He shared musings on the current geo-political environment in Europe and ramifications of maintaining low interest rates to the various socio-economic classes. His parting thought to the audience was, “Always stop your losses, and let your profits run.”

“KPMG created a unique opportunity to hear a veteran investment professional like Doug – and a group of preeminent leaders in the alternative investments industry – share their insights and experiences. Based on the feedback we’ve received from attendees, it’s clear that there is an appetite for programs that allow attendees to glean insights from so many executives in such a personalized setting,” said Calcagno.

Real Estate Executive Exchange

Real estate is always a hot-button topic for investors, especially in California, and in the first of two executive exchanges, leading real estate industry insiders shared their views on a variety of topics. The session was led by Martin Griffiths, KPMG Tax partner, who served as moderator. Panelists included: William J. McMorrow, chairman and CEO of Kennedy Wilson; Sean Armstrong, principal, Westport Capital Partners LLC; and John Murray, executive vice president and portfolio manager, PIMCO.

The initial discussion opened with a number of cross current issues with the impact of low interest rates and the regulatory environment surfacing as top of mind for all of the executives. Another notable concern was the welfare of cash-flow from existing properties and the demand for assets, and the stagnation of wages and income which can drive aggregate demand that impacts investment. The volatile global geo-political environment rounded out the concerns of the panelists.

Other notable issues discussed included Asian investments in the gateway cities, the state of Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), the potential real estate bubble – specifically in San Francisco, and office assets and apartment development.

Diversified Executive Exchange

The thought leadership program concluded with a focus on asset management and asset allocation. John Donovan, KPMG Audit partner, served as the moderator. Panelists for the session included: J. Alan Reid, Jr., CEO of Forward Management LLC; Anne-Gaelle Pouille, partner of PAAMCO; and Nate Redmond, managing partner of Rustic Canyon Partners.

The bulk of the dialogue centered on forecasting the 2015 calendar year, impact of low and high interest rates, and issues that keep the panelists “up at night.” For 2015, the panelists noted seeing additional risk and volatility, the demand for greater yield, and global opportunities across all asset classes. The issue of interest rates also sparked conversation on how businesses are able to work in a business environment still using old principles. Areas of concern included risk and liquidity, the changing global business climate specifically in Europe, and the geo-political environment around the world.

Last Add

“This program is emblematic of our presence in the marketplace. To assemble titans of the alternative investments industry and to have each of them share their experiences is invaluable,” said Jim Suglia, KPMG National Alternative Investments practice leader.

Individuals interested in learning more about KPMG’s Alternative Investments practice are encouraged to visit www.kpmginfo.com/alts/.


The perspectives of presenters do not necessarily represent the views of KPMG LLP. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity.