ELLICOTT CITY, Md., Nov. 19, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 350 members of the Investment Program Association (IPA), a national trade association supporting the direct investments industry, convened in Washington, D.C., from November 14-16 amidst renewed enthusiasm for direct investment vehicles. The industry represents an estimated $100 billion in assets under management and 1.5 million investors who seek to diversify their portfolios primarily through investing in hard assets.
At the association's annual Fall Conference, "Building the Future Together," members recognized the strong investor momentum for direct investments, the IPA's continuing work with regulators in setting industry best-practice guidelines, and the Association's new educational initiatives to increase awareness and understanding among broker-dealers and investors.
"Today's low-yield environment is ideal for the attractive distributions and long-term benefits direct investments can provide. The IPA is in a unique position to support the industry by expanding education initiatives, developing new guidelines for direct investment, and identifying best practices to move the industry forward," said the IPA's CEO & President Kevin Hogan.
Direct investments pool investor capital in vehicles that include non-listed real estate investment trusts (NL REITs), business development companies (BDCs), and oil and gas equipment leasing programs providing investors with a share in the physical assets of these companies. The benefits of these products include portfolio diversification, stable income, reduced market volatility, a hedge against inflation and potential capital appreciation.
Illustrating the growth in the industry, Robert A. Stanger & Company's Managing Director Keith Allaire delivered his "State of the Industry" address, reporting expected capital flows in 2012 of approximately $13 billion. With this, the total estimated assets under management for all direct investment vehicles will reach more than $100 billion.
In 2012, the IPA added ten new program sponsor firms as members, nine new broker-dealer firms and four new associate member firms, bringing the association's total membership to 153 program sponsors, broker-dealers and associate members.
At the conference, the IPA launched its second client-approved educational brochure, "A Guide to Understanding Real Estate Investment Trusts." It supplements its initial publication for advisors and their clients, the "Guide to Direct Investments."
The IPA also announced the third in its series of e-learning courses, "Fundamentals of Real Estate Investment Trusts." Designed for financial advisors, this course aims to assist advisors give a better understanding of applications and uses of non-traded REITs. It complements the two existing courses, "Fundamentals of Direct Investments" and "Portfolio Construction and Management Utilizing Direct Investments."
"As the industry continues to grow, we at the IPA will look to deliver more educational programs and materials, and to be the voice for direct investments to our many diverse audiences," said Kevin Hogan.
In a key regulatory address, Thomas M. Selman, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), commended the IPA's commitment to establish guidelines for the valuation of unlisted REIT and DPP securities. These took the form of comments on proposals to amend Rule 2340 to address the estimated per share values at which unlisted REIT and DPP securities are reported on customer account statements. FINRA is using these comments as it prepares a rule filing with the SEC.
The conference offered a robust agenda of more than 40 sessions, including:
- Keynote remarks from Christopher J. Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, and former U.S. Senator;
- A presentation about the economic outlook for 2013 and beyond by Stephen Fuller, economist and professor of Public and Regional Development, George Mason University;
- Observations from current and former senior regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASA); about changes in the current regulatory environment and how they affect IPA member firms;
- A panel of the four CEOs from the largest non-listed REIT sponsors, Robert Aisner, Behringer Harvard; Daniel Goodwin, Inland Real Estate Investment Corporation; Nick Schorsch, American Realty Capital; and Tom Sittema, CNL Financial Group, who offered their views on the investing environment and outlook for the industry;
- A discussion by four leading broker-dealer C-suite executives, Robert Moore, President & Chief Operating Officer, LPL Financial; Mike Mungenast, CEO, ProEquities, Inc; Larry Roth, CEO, Advisor Group LLC; Joseph Sweeney, President-Advice & Wealth Management, Products and Service Delivery, Ameriprise Financial, about how they see direct investments fitting into the economic recovery; and
- Post-election perspectives from Karen Hughes, former Counselor to President George W. Bush, and Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton.
The IPA also presented its first Outstanding Service Award to Trisha Miller, Senior Vice President and National Sales Manager, Carey Financial, LLC, for her work as Chair of the Education Committee, which has been responsible for several of the IPA's new Education initiatives, including the association's E-learning courses, investor guides and other educational initiatives.
About The Investment Program Association
The Investment Program Association (IPA) was formed in 1985 to provide effective national leadership for the Direct Investment industry. Since inception, the IPA has successfully championed the growth of Direct Investment products, which have increased in popularity with financial professionals and investors alike. Today, the IPA is the leading advocate for the inclusion of Direct Investments in a diversified investment portfolio. The mission of the IPA is to advocate for Direct Investments through education.
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