David Tawil and Ryan Kalish founded the firm now called Allocator in 2013, having spent nearly a year building up the technology that underpins their activities. The firm has evolved as a company since launch. The pair were driven by their experiences either working with, or as, investors, Tawil at Credit Suisse and Kalish on the investment committee at Stenham Advisors.
Tawil says: “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Our team is experienced in the investment industry and understands the issues allocators have and we wanted to provide solutions for investors.” Tawil explains that, in the past, investors had to research funds through speaking to brokers or third party marketers; they were lacking an independent source.
“We started off focused on hedge funds and very quickly, on the back of our clients’ feedback, discovered that while they loved the data, they had a problem managing the data across asset classes.” Allocator has over 2000 funds piping their data through the portal, representing assets of USD5 trillion. The majority are drawn from the hedge fund space, but not exclusively. There are increasingly long-only, multi-manager, private equity and real estate funds in the mix.
The investor client base for Allocator is drawn from all types of Qualified Institutional Investors, such as sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, funds of funds and family offices. They are global, with around 40 per cent US-based, around 40 per cent European and around 20 per cent representing the Middle East and Asia.
In terms of trends that the firm has observed, many investors have witnessed choppy times across some of the more established managers. Tawil says: “Investors have faced challenging conditions in recent months and, with continuing volatility, are looking for different, interesting opportunities. The low interest rate environment has also played its part and the hedge fund space has been facing headwinds for some time. Our platform enables investors to reach out and find interesting opportunities.”
Tawil says that looking forward, his firm is focusing on building on the momentum they have already gained. “The granularity of the data on our platform is increasing so investors can garner more insights. Ultimately it is a tool that helps investors understand what information they have access to, so they can make more informed decisions.”