[Private markets as alternative investments may offer a significant opportunity for growth and diversification for eligible investors yet investing in this space has long been dominated by institutional players, not retail investors and their advisors. Traditionally, access and adoption of this market segment has been shrouded in complexity with barriers such as compliance hurdles and cumbersome research and due diligence processes acting as deterrents for financial wealth advisors. Retail investors are underrepresented in this category but Advisors adopting and offering these investments have the potential to create significant value for their clients.

To realize this opportunity, Helix by HL — a new AI-powered private markets investing platform — was designed to help revolutionize private markets investing for retail clients by offering advisors unprecedented access and insight into this space. Helix by HL was launched in late 2023 by TIFIN (an AI and innovation platform for wealth) in partnership with Hamilton Lane (a leading global, private markets investment manager) and recently funded by FINTOP Capital to arm wealth advisors with immediate, actionable and intelligent insights needed to navigate private markets with confidence.

We spoke with Samuel Ganeles, director of enterprise sales at Helix to learn about how they collaboratively built the industry's first conversational, natural language investment assistant focused on private markets and alternative investments.]

Bill Hortz: How exactly does Helix help the adoption of alternative investments and help advisors grow their business? 

Samuel Ganeles: Like any asset class, to increase adoption you need to eliminate the frictions of discovery, understanding, and recommending potential investment options. With Helix, we have deployed a simple natural language chat interface that sits atop a vast industry data repository. 

Through the investment assistant, advisors can unlock workflow efficiencies by extracting insights from 200+ page legal placement documents for 1,000+ new investments each year, evaluate investment opportunities by comparing alternatives, and determine which investments are best suited to a particular client’s investment portfolio. Furthermore, the assistant provides always-on, up-to-date information on a relevant set of alternative investment options that in turn allows to scale up the process across an advisor’s book of business, enabling them to personalize their alts offering across their entire client roster.

Hortz: How is Helix by HL an example of TIFIN’s overall AI strategy to support advisors and financial firms?

Ganeles: At TIFIN, we are on a mission to improve wealth outcomes for individuals. We do this by building companies that address some of the biggest frictions across the worlds of wealth and investment management and applying the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve client-advisor interactions, advisor education and client outcomes in these areas. 

At Helix, we are using AI large language models (LLMs) to address the key pain points that prevent financial advisors and their clients from accessing alternative investments. We have created an intelligent investment copilot for advisors and analysts at wealth management firms to help them discover and diligently assess private market investments, improving the adoption of this asset class and delivering better results for clients. 

Hortz: How, in general, do you go about building a generative AI assistant? What is involved? 

Ganeles: We are now over one year into the “post-Chat GPT” era of AI development. In the last 12 months, we have seen rapid proliferation of large language models and consumer applications such as Chat GPT that have supercharged the development and deployment of generative AI platforms. From copywriting to media creation to education, we are seeing many new, impressive tools hit the market every month. 

However, in regulated industries such as asset and wealth management where fiduciary standards and best-interest regulations are in place, it is critical to build these solutions in a secure and compliant fashion. That is why we developed Helix using the best quality data available and in a safe and compliant manner for advisors who can trust our technology because we have created a scalable and compliant framework that works across enterprises and independent advisor firms alike. 

Hortz: Why did you choose the co-development route with Hamilton Lane?

Ganeles: Hamilton Lane and Helix’s parent company, TIFIN, have had a long-standing strategic relationship. Hamilton Lane originally partnered with TIFIN during TIFIN’s Series C round in December 2021. It was a logical conclusion for us to bring together Hamilton Lane’s industry-leading private markets datasets, already accessible to institutional investors via the Hamilton Lane Cobalt platform, and our collective private markets expertise. 

We further leveraged TIFIN’s cutting-edge expertise in generative AI, honed over years of building natural language assistants in public markets, to craft Helix’s innovative solution. In partnership, we are bringing the best of both firms to accelerate the development of a best-in-class platform ready to serve the wealth management industry. 

Hortz: How is the Hamilton Lane data used to inform and “train” the AI assistant? 

Ganeles: As I mentioned previously, an AI assistant is only as powerful as the data on which it is trained. In partnering with Hamilton Lane, we have access to an industry-leading dataset of approximately 50,000 funds collected over Hamilton Lane’s aggregated track record of over 30 years. Data that is otherwise very difficult for the average advisor to access. This allows Helix to pull responses from one of the industry’s gold standards of private markets information. In addition, the experts at Hamilton Lane analyze hundreds of investment opportunities each year, conducting investment and operational due diligence and analyzing performance against peers and industry benchmarks. We use these datasets to create a consistent stream of up-to-date investment insights and deliver these in the context of investment decision-making to advisors. 

For wealth management firms subscribing to Helix, they and their clients can now benefit from the answers fueled by industry-leading data that is delivered through an easy-to-use interactive investment assistant.

Hortz: Can you share any use cases you are seeing on how advisors are using Helix? 

Ganeles: We see Helix being deployed in a variety of transformative use cases, of which I will highlight two. 

For a wealth enterprise, aggregator or alts marketplace, the Helix interface can streamline the due diligence and fund selection process. Decision-makers can conduct quantitative research, evaluate the performance of investment strategies, managers, and previous vintages, and compare key attributes to streamline which investment options are available on the broader firm's approval lists. 

For independent advisors, Helix acts as an invaluable investment assistant in navigating the universe of approved funds and narrowing down to a short list currently open for subscription. In addition, built-in educational journeys help advisors learn more about emergent market niches, associated risks, and key investment parameters such as liquidity, fees, etc. When it comes to client engagement on investment options, Helix provides generative workflows such as writing detailed investment memos, and client communications, saving advisors time that is better spent in servicing clients.

Hortz: Where do you see the development of generative AI assistants going in the future? What other applications do you and TIFIN see as needed?

Ganeles: This is a rapidly evolving space, and we are just scratching the surface in terms of what these advanced models can do to create more efficiency and accuracy across industry use cases. Gen AI has the potential to unleash significant workflow efficiencies and scale up the knowledge base of the advisor community. This is already impacting many aspects of the value chain, including identifying and evaluating underlying investments, distribution and post-subscription client servicing.

To stay competitive in this new reality, wealth management and asset management firms need to have a clear strategy on the adoption of ML and AI and seek out partners with deep expertise in both the technology and the wealth management landscape. We believe Helix is a great example of thoughtful design, where we have been able to tap into TIFIN’s AI expertise and Hamilton Lane’s premium investment management data to harness the power of LLMs in a way that can be deployed with financial firms in a modular way.

The Institute for Innovation Development is an educational and business development catalyst for growth-oriented financial advisors and financial services firms determined to lead their businesses in an operating environment of accelerating business and cultural change. We operate as a business innovation platform and educational resource with FinTech and financial services firm members to openly share their unique perspectives and activities. The goal is to build awareness and stimulate open thought leadership discussions on new or evolving industry approaches and thinking to facilitate next-generation growth, differentiation and unique client/community engagement strategies. The institute was launched with the support and foresight of our founding sponsors — Ultimus Fund Solutions, NASDAQ, FLX Networks, TIFIN, Advisorpedia, Pershing, Fidelity, Voya Financial and Charter Financial Publishing (publisher of Financial Advisor and magazine).