Guggenheim Investment Advisory this week announced it rolled out a web-based alternative investments platform that provides advisors access to hedge fund managers, analytic tools and research to help them build customized hedge fund portfolios for their clients.

It's the same program Guggenheim created in 2006 for its own private clients, but now is making available to a wider audience of independent registered investment advisors, private banks and trust companies.

Guggenheim joins an ever-growing field of companies that provide alternative investment platforms for advisors and other financial intermediaries. Michael Christ, head of Guggenheim Investment Advisory, posits that many people who use these platforms do so to gain access to alternative strategies through funds of hedge funds.

"These [fund of funds] tend to be one size fits all," Christ says. "Our platform is structured to be much more customized so that advisors can pick individual solutions for a particular client."

Christ says the platform enables users to research specific investment themes and to analyze individual hedge fund managers who employ those themes. In addition, Guggenheim's platform allows advisors' clients to gain direct allocations to hedge fund managers with investment minimums starting at $100,000, or well below hedge fund minimums that typically start at $5 million or more.

"To differentiate ourselves we're providing the same solutions typically provided to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and large endowments and making them available to mainstream wealthy individuals," Christ says.

As detailed in a press release, the Guggenheim Alternatives Platform offers the following:
·         Access to more than 50 hedge fund managers, which represent Guggenheim Investment Advisory's core ideas in today's markets
·         Coverage of a range of strategies, including distressed, multi-strategy, equity long/short, opportunistic credit, trading/macro and commodities, across major and emerging geographies
·         Integration with the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation's (DTCC) Alternative Investment Products (AIP) protocol, which provides increased transparency through standardized, streamlined reporting and reconciliation and ongoing monitoring of all funds on the Guggenheim Alternatives Platform
·         Opportunities to access capacity-constrained managers
·         Thematic portfolio construction guidance and analytic tools
·         A streamlined, web-based implementation process
·         Immediate and ongoing guidance and support from Guggenheim Investment Advisory's experienced investment, operational and client service teams.

In an interview, Christ says Guggenheim's platform employs a large staff that performs due diligence on both the investments and operations side of hedge funds, as well as portfolio management teams that look at marketplace themes and asset allocation structures.

Financial advisors can access the platform by signing a no-cost agreement. The end-investor pays Guggenheim an "access" fee to invest in managers through the platform, which is on a sliding schedule based on total assets invested.

Without providing specifics, Guggenheim says the fee is competitive and less than what an investor would typically pay for a fund of funds.