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KKR Ramps Up Strategy of Getting Advisors to Put Wealthy Clients in Alts

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At its investor day on Wednesday, the global investment manager detailed an ambitious strategy of expanding the reach of its alternative investment products to wealthy individual investors in areas like private equity, infrastructure, and real estate. It aims to reach them through their financial advisors.

“Private wealth is a transformational opportunity for KKR,” Eric Mogelof, a KKR partner and head of the company’s Global Client Solutions division, said in an investor day presentation Wednesday. “Private wealth is large, it’s growing quickly, and importantly, allocations to alternatives in this space are only going in one direction, and that is up.”

Specifically, the company is promoting its K-Series of investment products, which the company says offer qualified individual investors access to the same investments as institutional clients without an extra layer of fees and as direct investments that offer greater liquidity than rival alts.

The K-Series focuses on four alternative asset classes: private equity, real estate, credit, and infrastructure. The funds are known through acronyms like K-INFRA and K-PEC. KKR says it is seeing increasing interest among all channels of the wealth management sector, including registered investment advisors.

“We’re hearing it from global private banks, regional private banks, wires, independents, RIAs,” said Mogelof. “We’re hearing it at the platform level, we’re hearing it at the advisor level—everybody’s increasing their allocation to alternatives.”

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KKR executives described the mobilization of a global sales force to expand the presence of K-Series vehicles across investment platforms. KKR has been building that product menu over the past few years, and distribution and sales have increased sharply since it brought the last of the four asset classes to market last year, according to Alisa Wood, partner and co-CEO of the KKR Private Equity Conglomerate.

“This is really new, but the momentum is building,” Wood said during her presentation at the company’s investor day.

KKR sees a large and growing market in expanding access to alternative investments for private investors. In 2022, alts accounted for just 2%, or $4 trillion, of private-wealth investment. By 2027, KKR projects that share could reach 6%, or $15 trillion.

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KKR is pursuing the opportunity for selling alternative investments to private investors through a five-pronged strategy, beginning with “leaning into our 48-year brand” as a leader in alts, Mogelof said. “At the end of the day, the individual investors care who they invest with, they look at their statements and they see who they’re with, and your brand matters.”

The second prong is the K-Series portfolio itself, which Mogelof calls “differentiated products that are customized for wealth,” rather than institutional funds that asset managers convert into products for private wealth, which can come with increased fees, reduced liquidity, or other drawbacks.

Next: relationships with asset platforms to make the products available to advisors and their clients. “Before you can sell a dollar of alternatives in the wealth market, you need to be available for sale on the platforms,” Mogelof said. “You need shelf space.”

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The fourth prong is a large “boots on the ground” global sales force KKR has dispatched to get the K-Series products in front of wealth managers. “These products aren’t bought—they are sold,” he said. “You need sales professionals that are working hand in hand with financial advisors and private bankers.”

Finally, and as a complement to the efforts of KKR’s sales force, Mogelof described a sophisticated marketing and data-analytics operation that can ensure the sales team is getting in front of the right types of advisors. No firm in KKR’s business should try to get their message to each of the roughly 300,000 financial advisors working in the U.S., let alone around the world, he said. Instead, a smart and targeted marketing and data strategy can be a “force multiplier” for the sales force.

“If you can do these five things right, you will win in wealth,” Mogelof said. “Trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars of money [is] in motion that is getting invested in the things that we do, and we are so excited to be partnering with wealth clients to help them invest in alternatives.”

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