The alternative investment platform CAIS has expanded its relationship with Baird, a Milwaukee-based wealth management firm, so the latter can access alternative investments through CAIS’s system.

The expanded partnership builds off one that was established seven years ago when CAIS agreed to offer a portion of its alternative investment menu to Baird’s advisors.

The original agreement allowed CAIS to assist Baird’s advisors throughout the execution of a trade from the preliminary stages through the trade itself—and after the trade as well. A highlight of the service includes help with auto-filling applications in the pre-trade stage of the transaction, which can be an arduous and time-consuming process when done manually.

Baird advisors could still seek alternative investments outside of the CAIS lineup under the old system, but to invest in these things, they had to go through the process manually. With this new agreement, the firm's advisors can now access any alternative investment, whether it’s on CAIS’s platform or not, using the CAIS technology.

“We have a longstanding relationship with CAIS and are thrilled to be expanding our strategic partnership to power our entire alternative investment platform,” said Nic Reisenbichler, senior vice president and manager of investment products at Baird, in a release. “The collaboration between our operations team and CAIS to bring funds onto one centralized platform using CAIS’s modern technology for advisors makes them the ideal partner for us.”

Baird’s advisors can now select whatever alternative product they wish and still enjoy the benefits of going through that system. It will enable them to reduce the time it takes to get into one of those products, according to Brad Walker, chief client and product development officer of CAIS.  

“They can choose from our marketplace, which is a curated menu, and they can find ideas on their own, but they can bring it all onto the same technical platform that powers that experience,” he said.

The interest in and use of alternatives has greatly increased in recent years among advisors, and in response firms have created more wealth-centric products.

The problem with that, according to Walker, is that with so many advisors using different products from multiple firms it creates a lot of confusion. The two firms are looking to reduce that by simplifying the process in one platform.

“What Baird and CAIS are doing is bringing optimization to the advisors’ home office operations team to help them move away from manual processes and empower them to scale alternative investments,” Walker said.

With CAIS taking care of much of the manual work that Baird’s advisors were doing previously, it frees them up to handle more important aspects of their business.

“It enables the advisors within Baird to continue to adopt and allocate to alts [without] having to worry about all those manual processes because it’s all automated, which means they can spend more time with their clients,” he said.