New product offerings continue to proliferate as Wall Street strives to meet consumer demand. What is driving this process? Among other factors, today’s low interest rate environment has all investors chasing yields into potentially unknown territory, perhaps without fully understanding all of the risks involved. Increasingly, institutional investors, who are generally sophisticated investors experienced at evaluating risks, are seeking higher yielding investments by allocating more dollars to alternative investments such as hedge or private equity funds. Meanwhile, retail investors, who may not be experienced at evaluating these risks, continue to be deeply concerned about accumulating sufficient assets to generate retirement income, thereby nudging them to take on more risk to generate higher returns and, many would argue, without understanding the risk vs. reward trade-off. An investment adviser or registered representative also must have the relevant experience to evaluate such risks.
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