Alternative Assets Class: Bear market mood leaves investors seeking more stable options
Equity markets took a dramatic plunge last week. On Friday 26th, global markets recorded their longest losing streak since May 2013 . The MSCI all-country world index, tracking stock markets in 47 developed and emerging countries, closed down 3.7% on Friday.
Despite slight gains over the last couple of days, global markets were still down more than eight per cent for the month. Concerns over Brexit negotiations, as well as the dispute between the Italian government and the EU over the country’s budget, have impacted the markets negatively.
In fact, indexes have been oscillating since 2016 after the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the US led to trade wars and political tensions. These factors have been shaking up the market mood more severely, having direct impact over stocks around the globe.
Equity shareholders are therefore gearing up to take their investments into other areas. But where? The sentiment is no more positive in the crypto sphere. Aside from its typical volatility, the crypto market started the week low and showed no significant bounce.
The cryptocurrency market peaked last year when the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed, reaching $19,000, and the crypto market cap nudged $700 billion. Since then, the Bitcoin price has crashed over 50%, with an ensuing 56% decline of the crypto market cap to $209 billion.
The search for investment options that are less reactive to political environment and market volatility, and safer than cryptocurrencies, opens the way for new forms of bond designed to resist market pressure and provide returns even in adverse circumstances.
Such options may sound unconventional, but they represent a favourable alternative, as well as being a good portfolio diversifier. According to asset managers, they can act as another source of income generation, potential capital appreciation and good balance of volatility.
Stefania Barbaglio, Director at IR firm Cassiopeia Services, which works closely with investors, commented: “Investors are very concerned about the recent market downturn and whether it represents an opportunity to buy, or rather is a warning of a further crash in light of Trump’s policies and the approach of Brexit."
"Some investors are switching to the crypto market and ICOs, where the worst seems to have passed and there is still opportunity to make money in an unregulated booming market; while others are playing on long-term market fundamentals such as uranium upturn or are trying to identify stocks that withstand this volatility. Quite a few are selling and cashing up and waiting for the right investment opportunity.”
Essentially, it is all about a diversified and balanced investment portfolio, powered by thorough and savvy research. Sometimes it is not about how much money you have to invest, but how smart your investment strategy is.
Alternative Assets: Attractive investment option in a bear market
Life settlements is a fragmented, niche sector not on the radar of the standard investor, but it should be. These assets are opening a new door for life insurance buyers and sellers. As birth rates go down and life expectancy keeps increasing, life settlements represent a growing asset group and an investment option suited for investors looking towards assets with less volatility and market sensitivity.
London-listed innovative alternative asset specialist Alpha Growth plc, (LSE: ALGW) is one of the best positioned companies in this sector. The company has great prospects and excellent growth opportunities through acquisitions of complementary and supplementary service providers. Alpha is planning expansion of the business with organic growth, particularly in Europe and internationally. The business started in the US, but Alpha is seeking to grow in the European, Asian and international markets.
Alpha Growth is a financial advisory business providing specialist consultancy, advisory and supplementary services to institutional and qualified investors globally in the multibillion dollar market of longevity assets. With solid experience in the North American market, as well as a global footprint, Alpha is looking to explore young markets. Life settlement markets in Europe, Asia and non-US territories are still immature, but with a growing number of investors, offer great scope for growth and returns.
Since listing on the London Market in December last year, Alpha has addressed the growing need for investments which are more flexible and suitable to current market conditions, launching a hybrid bond tailored to meet the high standards of institutional investors; as well expanding its operations with the acquisition of Alpha Longevity Management Limited.
Earlier this year, Alpha launched its innovative product: a hybrid security called High Yield Return (HYR). The HYR is an attractive risk yield over a 10-year term with minimal correlation to equity and commodity markets, meaning that investors and insurers are not vulnerable to market volatility and price crashes — a very attractive option in these times.
The product is a debt equity hybrid investment, coupled with risk management and quality-rated collateral that provides diversity and safety in return for a range of investors, institutions and insurers.
“The market for our services is very niche; we are the only advisory business in this segment with a footprint in the UK and the US, where the assets originate. As an alternative asset, life settlement provides a very high-risk adjusted yield compared to other asset classes. Furthermore, longevity assets are uncorrelated to other financial markets and you know what your return is going to be, your rate is basically locked in,” says Gobind Sahney, Alpha Growth Executive Chairman.
The upward journey of the company and the opportunities in this space are reflected in the rise of its share price since IPO at 1.25p, escalating more prominently after the acquisition of Alpha Longevity in September.