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The Summit Series of conferences brings together ultra-elite family office investors, business owners, sheiks and royal family members to network and exchange ideas. The theme of this event which took place earlier this month was “The Rise and Rise of Family Offices”, encompassing the need to identify actionable strategies for generating returns in a low-rate, high volatility market. Dolfin’s Chief Investment Officer, Vassilis Papaioannou, was asked to take part in a CIO panel discussion and our Head of Sales, Georgios Ercan, was in Monte Carlo too for this exclusive event.
The summit was hosted by Anthony Ritossa, Chairman of the Ritossa Family Office, which husbands the wealth of the olive-growing dynasty. “The global economy now finds itself at an important and significant inflection point politically, economically and technologically,” Ritossa told Dolfin Diary. “As family offices, we often struggle with identifying actionable investment opportunities against the backdrop of a protracted dynamic low-yield environment.”
One such opportunity is Dolfin’s unconstrained credit strategy, about which Papaioannou spoke during his CIO panel. “Unconstrained investing is a benchmark-free approach that focuses on risk guidelines, low fees, transparency, liquidity and active direct management,” he explains. “Our strategy is to diffuse the unconstrained effect across all asset classes, rather than being reliant on the hedge fund allocation.”
The opening keynote panel session explored investment opportunities at a time when world events have dramatically changed financial markets. Unexpected events over the past 12 months, including the US election, the threat of a fractured EU, demonetisation within one of the world’s fastest growing emerging economies, a liquidity crisis and major oil and commodities price adjustments, have led investors to deploy capital in new ways. Sharing their views on mega trends, geopolitical risk and economic challenges were representatives of family offices in the USA, UK, UAE and Switzerland.
The discussion then moved on to a lighter note: a look at family offices that have followed their hearts with successful investments in their life passions, which included art, sports clubs, marinas, luxury hotels and other trophy alternative real estate assets. A further panel discussion took a practical look at how these elite businesses started, grew and evolved into major powerhouses. Speakers shared their views of the current environment and visions for the future, strategies for transitioning their empire to the next generation, and balancing between corporate governance and family governance for better control.
Papaioannou offered insights into the unconstrained strategy as part of a panel session on “Thinking Outside the Box in a Dynamic Low-Yield Environment”. With the global economy at a significant inflection point politically, economically and technologically, clear patterns of switching between asset classes have emerged. The need for agility and innovation against this backdrop is clearly reflected in Dolfin’s investment philosophy, Papaioannou told delegates. “The unconstrained journey we take with our clients emphasises transparency, risk management, liquidity and active management,” he says.
A key theme of the conference was how family offices have become a force to be reckoned with in the global ocean of wealth, commanding fresh attention from the likes of international investment banks, private equity firms and alternative asset managers.
“The summit was a great opportunity to spend time with several well-established global family offices,” says Ercan. “It provided us with insights into the concerns they face, chief of which was wealth preservation and creation in a world of political and economic instability and uncertainty. At the moment, many family offices are interested in co-investing in start-ups, mainly in the technology sector, but they are also asking themselves whether private equity and hedge funds offer sufficient returns to justify the risks, liquidity and additional fees.”
Dolfin welcomed the opportunity to share our thoughts on how we to deliver alpha whilst achieving cost efficiency, transparency and liquidity via investments in public markets.