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Propelling the evolution of structured investments


Since I joined CAIS about 11 years ago, the firm has evolved rapidly and adapted to the changing independent wealth landscape. What started as a private funds marketplace expanded to structured investments, a SaaS product called CAIS Solutions, and more. Here at CAIS, our competitive edge is the three P’s: our People, access to Products, and our Platform. From my perspective, the unique combination of those three powerful pillars, partnered with an advisor-centric approach, make CAIS the most attractive firm in our space.

When it comes to our structured investment business, let us look back at how we got here. When I came to CAIS, I had two goals:   

  1. The first goal was to elevate the structured investment product set among financial advisors in the independent wealth channel. I believed that structured investments were underutilized due to a lack of awareness, education, or misconceptions, which prevented the adoption by independent advisors. 

  2. My second goal was to make structured investments synonymous with the CAIS brand similar to that of our traditional alternatives business. CAIS was about two years old when I joined, and advisors came to us for access to alternatives such as private equity, private debt, hedge funds, and real estate. The structured notes space was new to CAIS, and I was looking to bring that business on par with what we had built up to that point.   

The structured investments industry has grown tremendously over the past decade, with the total US structured notes volume issuance growing to an estimated $130B in 2023*, and our platform has evolved to meet the increased demand.  

Adoption driven by people and platform   

 Typically, advisors’ experiences with structured investments can often be categorized in two ways:

  1. They may have previously worked with a traditional wholesaler selling products without necessarily considering an advisor’s overall practice and where, if at all, structured notes may complement the advisor's overall portfolio.

  2. They may have accessed structured notes via a tech platform without human support where they are on their own to learn, engage, and implement this potentially new asset class.   

What makes CAIS unique is our powerful combination of people plus platform. We view ourselves as a resource for financial advisors, to help educate them with respect to structured notes and how they may complement their existing allocations. When you then introduce our tech platform, we provide advisors with a full-service experience from education and engagement to implementation and comprehensive post-trade management. Hence, an advisor gets the best of both worlds.   

Tech-enabled support throughout the investing lifecycle   

We have built the CAIS platform for advisors with advisors. Through a constant feedback loop with our advisor base, we are ever evolving our features to better serve our platform users and help them scale their structured notes and alternatives business.  

Prior to placing structured note trades at their executing broker, advisors can access on-demand learning through CAIS IQ and find educational resources to make better-informed investment decisions when browsing the extensive menu of monthly-changing offerings on the platform. Through our new order management tool, advisors can easily manage structured notes, and the tracking goes into the advisor's holdings reports, where they can see a detailed overview of their allocations and concentrations, as well as gain awareness of potential reinvestment opportunities.   

Hence, independent financial advisors can count on CAIS for comprehensive support throughout the entire investing lifecycle.   

People powering people   

But CAIS is so much more than a platform. Our people are crucial to our service model, and no technology can replace human interaction. CAIS product specialists are an invaluable resource for an advisor’s team, and we strongly underscore the importance of face-to-face engagement, especially in an increasingly virtual world.   

That is also why we have launched CAIS Live, an alts- and notes-focused event series, in addition to our annual CAIS Summit, to bring advisors, asset managers, bank issuers, and industry thought leaders together for idea exchange.   

Flexibility in partnership and product application   

With everything we offer, advisors can choose how they want to partner with CAIS. Advisors can come to us to simply learn about notes, gain access to monthly offerings, work with us to help source custom note ideas, or even just track their structured note holdings – regardless of whether they were facilitated through CAIS or off-platform.   

Since advisors coming to CAIS have access to both alternative investments and structured notes, they may be wondering how these product sets may fit within their portfolio allocation. Some financial professionals view structured notes as part of their alts allocation, whereas others bucket notes with their yield or equities strategies. Notes may complement alts in the sense that alts provide access to private markets whereas notes provide exposure to public markets. Structured notes also have a lower barrier of entry and don’t require accreditation.   

Looking ahead: Poised for evolution   

The growth trajectory of structured notes appears large as adoption in the US is still relatively low compared to other global markets, and their application can be versatile – from yield enhancement to growth with protection. We constantly hear from advisors that the structured note space is appealing, hence it seems to be not a matter of if but when the product set will see massive growth in the US. Our role at CAIS is to spread awareness and education about these strategies, their benefits and risks, democratizing access to not only structured notes but also newer opportunites accessible through third-party banks, such as separately managed accounts and hedging and monetization strategies. We are here to help independent financial advisors scale and monitor their structured investment business through our platform.   


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