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Investors and Managers Share Views on Trump, Le Pen, Technology and the Future of the Alternative Investment Industry in CAIS 2017 Survey

44% believe Trump administration represents the biggest global risk in 2017

A survey of more than 200 leading thinkers and decision-makers in the alternative investment industry in attendance at the 2017 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS) revealed that 44% believe the Trump administration represents the biggest potential global risk in 2017. Other top risks include cybersecurity (25%), China (14%), European elections (13%) and Brexit (4%).

In total, more than 500 people attended the event, which explored the theme of "Defying Gravity: The Future of Alternative Investments in Exceptional Times" and featured speakers such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, David McWilliams, John Mauldin and Mark Yusko.

"This next year will be unlike anything the alternative investment industry has ever faced," said Chris Duggan, Director of CAIS and VP of community development for event sponsor, Dart Enterprises. "With rapid technological changes and major geopolitical shifts around every corner, the industry must show that it can chart a path through what promises to be choppy waters."

A majority of survey respondents (85%) believe the alternative investment industry will grow assets over the next five years, with 46% predicting there will be fewer funds than there are today and 39% predicting there will be more funds. Comparatively, only 8% believe the industry will shrink in terms of both assets and funds, with 7% foreseeing fewer assets but more funds in the future.

"Throughout this conference, leading thinkers discussed how to move the alternative investment industry forward in these uncertain times," said Tony Cowell, Chair of the Editorial Committee for CAIS and Partner, Head of Alternative Investments at KPMG. "Although challenges abound, there is strong enthusiasm among both investors and fund managers that, while still evolving, the industry will only continue to grow."

Other survey highlights include:

  • Predicting the next ’Brexit’ or ’Trump’ moment: A majority of respondents (51%) picked Marine Le Pen winning the French presidential election as the next event most likely to upset global markets, followed by Angela Merkel losing the German chancellor election (39%) and Geert Wilders winning the Dutch parliamentary election (9%)
  • Investors most bullish on non-traditional asset classes: 40% of investors are most bullish about the opportunity for 2017 returns from real estate and real assets, far outpacing commodities (28%), equities (18%) and credit (14%)
  • Philanthropy continues to be a big theme: A third of survey respondents said they regularly donate to a variety of causes or charities, with an additional 27% donating to a specific cause or charity. However, 22% take it a step further by also sitting on the board of a charity and partnering with other philanthropic organizations or investors.
  • Artificial intelligence poised to disrupt 2017: Nearly a third of attendees (31%) think AI is the emerging technology that will have the most impact on the world in 2017. Other popular choices included robotics/automation (19%), blockchain (18%), cybersecurity (16%), self-driving cars (10%) and wearable tech (5%).

The survey was collected during the 2017 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit (CAIS), held at the new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa in the Cayman Islands on February 15-17, 2017. The annual, not-for-profit event convened 500-plus institutional investors, fund managers, academics, economists, regulators and service providers to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the alternative investment community.

The 2018 Cayman Alternative Investment Summit will be held at the same venue on February 7-9, 2018.

Next Finance , March 13

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