“The independent movement has taken hold and advisors are using this as a differentiator,” according to Rodriques, and this trend is compounded by the fact that within a traditional broker-dealer firm there are more product and compliance limitations to this kind of investing.
And while alternative investing through retirement accounts has received more exposure lately due to the revelations about Mitt Romney’s IRA account, there are still a number of barriers that prevent many investors from entering into this space.
The Retirement Industry Trust Association, a group of alternative-asset IRA providers, estimates that only around 2 per cent to 5 per cent of all IRA assets are held in such accounts, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
For a start, there’s a lack of expertise, despite some advisors who have excelled.
“Well there are specialists out there,” said Rodriques, citing as an example one of the firm's family office clients that has been “very good at investing in real estate.”
“But yes there is a bit of a knowledge gap around the rules… advisors are just coming up to speed on that,” he says. “There’s also what I would call a ‘process gap’ within the large platforms that enable these advisors.”