Alternative investments

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It is a great pleasure to introduce this fifth Pictet Report, which draws on our second Alternatives conference held in Zurich in mid-September 2010. Now, as in 2009, we brought together a wide range of experts–both asset managers and investors–for two days of lively discussions and debate which are summarised in the following pages.

The focus is on hedge funds and private equity, the two main forms of alternative investment that concern us. However, the speakers also provided many insights on the global economic outlook, the partial recovery of the financial markets and the fortunes of individual companies and sectors.

The conference began with an assessment of the current credit cycle and the challenge of refinancing in an era when credit is no longer as freely available as in the middle of the last decade. Next, the agenda moved on to the shifting balance of power between developed and emerging markets.

Lastly, the conference discussed the evolution of the alternative investment industry and the extent to which it is converging on traditional long-only asset management.

With the shift in the global balance of power to emerging markets and the gloomy economic outlook for the developed economies, investors must ensure that their investment strategies are adaptable to these changed circumstances. We hope you will find the thoughts of our contributors stimulating and valuable.