Monika Mantilla, founder, president and CEO of New York-based Altura Capital Group said her company's new information platform allows smaller players in the financial world to gain exposure "that would otherwise take millions of dollars and years of time at zero cost."
Ms. Mantilla, enthused by the prospect, emphasized her remarks with a dramatic pause, then exclaimed, "Tell me if that's a good value proposition or not!"
A number of smaller investment managers would argue that it certainly is. Altura's plan is to hold a magnifying glass in front of the world's emerging investment managers and expose them to institutional investors and other big players in the global financial marketplace.
Altura defines emerging managers as "undiscovered, under-utilized, or undercapitalized investment talent," among them women-owned and minority-owned firms.
Putting A Spotlight On Emerging Managers
According to the company's research, emerging managers tend to be small operations, often niche or specialty players, that, while not widely known, often perform better than larger, higher-profile asset managers.
Some huge names in the financial world -- including institutional investors managing billions of dollars -- recognize the value of Altura's soon-to-be-launched information platform.
The Comptroller of the City of New York, the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS; $162 billion in net assets per available data), the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS; $251 billion), and the Illinois State Board of Investments (ISBI; $43 billion) have been on board from the beginning.
The information platform will provide research, data, analysis, due diligence, and market intelligence to help such organizations around the world invest part of their vast resources with smaller, more nimble, and often more effective managers.
Hedge funds, private equity firms, real estate investment trusts, broker dealers and other types of money managers -- subject to certain criteria, such as the value of assets they manage -- are invited to register on the searchable database.
More than 1,100 managers are currently on that database, which potential investors will access through a subscription-based Web interface. For the emerging managers, including minority and Hispanic firms worldwide, the service is free.
Ms. Mantilla said Altura's biggest challenge in gathering the data was "convincing thousands of money managers to go into the Web site and answer hundreds of questions about who they are."
But, she added, since this initial time commitment puts their track record in front of trillions of potential investment dollars, it's a small price to pay.
Promoting Diversity On Several Levels
Ms. Mantilla believes that providing such business opportunities to emerging managers will benefit the financial services sector as a whole, as it will promote a wider and more diverse set of players in the market.
This echoes Ms. Mantilla's strong feelings that minorities and women are overlooked in the finance world. "We're a Hispanic and woman-owned firm. We're unique in that sense," she said, adding that no other such company is doing the type of work Altura does.
"So in a way we have the responsibility of being pioneers and showing that these things can be done. This is a market that Hispanics have not usually penetrated, often not getting the training nor apprenticeship opportunities."
Ms. Mantilla believes the investment world is a marketplace in which Hispanics can and should participate, and that being where decisions are made about investing trillions of dollars is an important place to be. "It's important that the younger generation sees us doing this ... and doing it very well."
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