Q&A with Matt Brown, Founder & CEO of CAIS

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Matt Brown CAIS Founder & CEO

Expert Opinion

Q&A with Matt Brown, Founder & CEO of CAIS

Ajay Singh Nov 07, 2019



Matt Brown (MB): CAIS is the premier financial technology product platform connecting independent financial advisors with top-tier alternative asset managers. We’ve built the first truly open marketplace where advisors and managers can engage and transact directly on a massive scale. Through the CAIS platform, independent financial advisors can access top-tier alternative investment products at reduced investment minimums.
 
CAIS offers streamlined execution for an expanding menu of alternative investment funds, capital markets offerings, and products. CAIS complements its fund offerings with independent due diligence provided by Mercer. CAIS is an NFA member with securities offered through CAIS Capital LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.
 
I founded the company in 2011 and I am fortunate to work alongside a leadership team that applies their diverse skills to realizing our unified goal of helping wealth managers easily access in-demand financial products.
 
Since inception, CAIS has facilitated over $8 billion in total platform volume with over 2,900 advisor firms and teams as members from the independent wealth community.
 
CAIS is a two-sided marketplace that connects independent financial advisors with alternative investment asset managers, providing access and value to both communities.
 
Financial advisors browse, research, execute, and monitor their alternative investments, including best-in-class hedge funds, private equity, private credit, real estate, and structured notes. By offering the CAIS Platform fee-free to financial advisors, asset managers are able to gain access to a differentiated and diversified source of capital.
 
MutualFunds.com: What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
 
MB: U.S. financial advisors, who control over $22 trillion, use alternative investments in order to achieve their clients’ financial goals, including downside risk protection and portfolio diversification. On average, financial advisors allocate less than 5% of their portfolio to alternative investments, while large institutions allocate approximately 30%.
 
This gap persists in part because independent financial advisors don’t have the same resources as large Wall Street institutions to evaluate funds, conduct due diligence, and meet high investment minimums imposed by alternative asset managers. Most critically, they often lack the relationships to initiate these conversations.
 
MutualFunds.com: Why is this problem worth solving?
 
MB: Without access to alternative investments, financial advisors have fewer tools to capitalize on opportunities, or withstand the ever-changing markets. This unlevel playing field puts financial advisors at a meaningful disadvantage when growing and protecting client wealth.
 
This gap represents $5 trillion of untapped demand, and CAIS is democratizing access for independent advisors by breaking down the barriers that prevent them from connecting with the best alternative asset managers.
 
MutualFunds.com: Can you talk about your latest product – CAIS IQ?
 
MB: As a part of our mission, we’ve spent the last year creating CAIS IQ, an adaptive learning system to empower advisors to learn faster and remember longer to reach their full potential, build stronger businesses, and best serve their clients.
 
According to a Preqin report, 84% of investors plan to increase their allocation to alternative investments in the coming years, while a remarkable 67% of financial advisors say they want to deepen their understanding of these strategies prior to implementing.
 
In other words, right now, education is the biggest barrier preventing financial advisors from utilizing alternative investments.
 
CAIS IQ reduces the alternative investment learning curve by combining expert content with predictive algorithms that adapt to how you personally learn best. It provides independent advisors with the knowledge and information to confidently allocate to alternatives. Both the Investment and Wealth Institute (IWI) and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board offer continuing education credit through CAIS IQ.
 
The system is designed to educate learners in a memorable way, with systematic check-ins and content releases with a philosophy-based approach of “little and often.” This makes learning both more efficient and effective by providing a granular, real-time measurement of learning progress for each unique learner.
 
CAIS IQ is powered by an adaptive learning platform called Cerego, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to scale proven cognitive science and empowers humans to learn faster and remember longer. For each individual advisor, the platform measures the rate of information absorption and knowledge decay, simultaneously calculating the precise moment to review in order to achieve maximum retention. Across multiple studies, users have seen dramatic increases in learning paired with up to 50% savings in time spent compared to traditional learning methods.
 
Today, Cerego is used by nearly 2,000 organizations around the world, including Target, Rockwell Automation, Copa Airlines, the U.S. Army, and Arizona State University.
 
Andrew Smith Lewis, the co-founder of Cerego, recently joined CAIS as Chief Innovation Officer to build CAIS IQ and ensure that a commitment to cutting-edge, adaptive learning continues to drive innovation efforts at the company. Smith Lewis, a learning science and artificial intelligence expert, has dedicated his career to unlocking human potential and empowering people by optimizing the way they learn.
 
MutualFunds.com: What is differentiated about your solution?
 
MB: The traditional approach to education is all about presenting materials to people and leaving it up to the learner to bridge the gap between delivery and retention.
 
With CAIS IQ we bridge the gap by assessing the delivery of content on a personal level. The ability not to cram but to know something, convey it, and share it with confidence. There’s nothing new about putting courses online. We’re changing the game in terms of how people learn and backing it up with data and systems.
 
If your goal is long-term retention, there are two governing principles from learning science: distributed learning and retrieval practice. What that amounts to is that little and often is the key. You see what you need to see, when you need to see it, and in the way it should be presented for you. It’s all personalized to the individual.
 
MutualFunds.com: What is the best way for prospective clients to learn more about your new product?
 
MB: Thanks for asking. To learn more and sign up for CAIS IQ, please visit CAISIQ.com. CAIS IQ is built into the CAIS platform, and we offer the CAIS platform fee-free to qualified financial advisors.
 
MutualFunds.com: What is your biggest takeaway from Impact 2019 so far, specifically regarding the role of technology in financial services?
 
MB: We’re encouraged by all the ways we’re seeing technology transform wealth management by making workflows, processes, and systems smarter. At CAIS, we’re not just making smarter technology, we’re also using technology to make people smarter.
 
It’s essential that we apply technology in ways that truly empower advisors, and that’s precisely what we’re doing with CAIS IQ.

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