Fidelity moves to arm retail advisors with alts intelligence

In a strategic move to empower financial advisors in the rapidly evolving alternative investments sector, Fidelity Investments has unveiled a comprehensive update to its support and research capabilities.

To help expand retail advisors’ access to alts, Fidelity is launching a new proprietary research portal through its dedicated platform for advisors, WealthscapeSM. According to the firm, the new portal will give users of the platform exclusive access to research notes on third-party funds covering key areas of the alt investment space.

“Advisors can now navigate the new alts investment research portal seamlessly and review research on various private credit, private real assets, and private equity funds to evaluate and compare a wide range of alts investment strategies,” according to a Fidelity statement.

Fidelity has also enriched its library of alternative thought leadership for wealth firms with a new report, “Evaluating Alternative Investment Strategies,” which is the latest in a series of papers delving into the intricacies of the manager due diligence process.

The firm is ramping up its efforts to support alternative strategies following a raft of research pointing to advisor challenges in adopting them.

Fidelity has found more than half of advisors looking to begin or expand their use of alts confronted hurdles in investment management research (54 percent). Due diligence of alternative strategies and managers also held them back from investing in illiquid strategies (55 percent) or those with intermittent liquidity (53 percent).

Given those and other obstacles, alternatives exposure among advisors in the retail channel stands at 26 percent, compared to 86 percent among institutional investors, according to Fidelity.

With storm clouds gathering over the commercial real estate space, more financial advisors are looking to shore up their clients’ portfolios with alternative strategies including non-traded business development companies. Fundraising in BDCs has consistently topped $2 billion since September, according to recent research by Robert A. Stanger & Co. Inc.

“Alternative investments are becoming more widely accessible, but many advisors lack the resources to determine how to incorporate them in their portfolios,” said Darby Nielson, chief investment officer at the Fidelity Institutional group. “Fidelity is committed to providing advisors with the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions and excel in the alts space, helping investors reach their financial goals.”

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