How the Investment Playing Field Has Been Leveled for Even the Most Sophisticated Advisors and Their Clients

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A conversation with Lawrence Calcano, Chairman and CEO of iCapital Network

There was a time not long ago when advisors at the big brokerages had the “edge” over independent firms when it came to accessing the most robust inventory of alternative investments – such as private equity and hedge fund options – for their wealthiest clients.

“Alts” as they’ve come to be known were once largely out of reach for those in the independent space—primarily because the strategy, negotiations, tax reporting and ensuing paperwork were far too complicated and best left to those at the big banks.

But gaps in service offerings like these are opportunities for smart firms—and a growing part of the industry where new platforms emerge regularly to fill holes as they appear.

And that’s exactly what the guest on this episode did. In 2013, Lawrence Calcano helped to launch iCapital Network, a platform designed to close the gap for advisors who previously could not go independent without losing some, if not all, of their private fund access.

When it comes to alternative investments, RIAs no longer need to be at a big bank or have deep pockets to manage research, buying and advisory services, as iCapital’s platform allows them to do so through cutting edge technology—opening up greater potential to serve more clients better.

It’s firms like iCapital that are leveling the playing field between brokerage firms and independence—representative of true open architecture and giving independent advisors the ability to “shop the Street” for best-in-class offerings for their clients.

And platforms like iCapital address one of the most frequently raised concerns from advisors: “My clients are all ultra-high net worth. My fear is that by going independent, I would lose access to best-in-class solutions and opportunities.”

In this episode, Lawrence discusses the evolution of the alts space and the role iCapital plays in the momentum of change, including:

  • How their platform is democratizing access to alts—and how iCapital has impacted advisors’ abilities to serve their clients regardless of whether they are independent or affiliated with a brokerage firm.
  • What’s behind iCapital’s amazing growth from $8B in client assets to a reported $55B in just the past year—and how recent funding from some of the biggest names in the business and partnerships play into their future.
  • How firms like iCapital are building new pathways towards independence—and what this means for advisors who are thinking about making the leap.

Lawrence makes it clear just how much the ecosystem that supports breakaways has expanded, and that both access and ease of use have been democratized. And this expansion is good for the industry—clients and advisors alike.

Listen to additional episodes in this series


Lawrence Calcano:

Lawrence is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of iCapital Network. He began advising and working with iCapital shortly after its 2013 founding to lead key strategic and business development initiatives. Lawrence was a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he spent 17 years, most recently serving as the co-head of the Global Technology Banking Group of the Investment Banking Division. He serves on the Boards of the Mental Health Association of New York City and Capitol Acquisition V, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company. Lawrence was named to the Forbes Midas List of the most influential people in venture capital in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Lawrence received a BA from the College of the Holy Cross and graduated from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College as a Tuck Scholar.



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