What will you learn about?

You will learn how to:

  • Evaluate the investment merits of alternative investments and where they might fit into a client’s portfolio
  • Differentiate between liquid alternatives and hedge funds
  • Describe various types of private equity structures
  • Assess the benefits and risks of international investments
  • Recommend strategies that protect client portfolios
  • Construct or recommend portfolio solutions

How will you learn?

The course features are:

  • Consists of seven independent modules
  • Each module consists of PDF and E-Pub files (accessible on mobile devices) and an online quiz
  • Modules are completed when you pass the online quiz
  • Module completions result in CE credits being awarded. Earn CE credits incrementally as you progress through the course
  • Once you complete all modules within the course, you will earn a Micro-Certificate generating a digital badge

What is the course syllabus?

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Module 1 - Exempt Securities Market (CIRO CE PD Credits: 1.5)

In this module, we focus on the use of private placements in the securities markets. First, we explain how they differ from the public markets, and then we describe the various private placement structures available in the marketplace. We also describe the steps involved in getting private placements to market. Finally, you will learn about the key issues and post-issuance requirements you need to consider when working with clients in this market.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Describe the types of investors who are eligible to purchase private placements
  • Identify the various types of private placement structures
  • Describe the features, benefits, and risks of flow-through shares
  • List the investor’s and issuer’s advantages and disadvantages of relying on a private placement, over securities issued with a prospectus
  • Explain how a term sheet is used with private placements
  • Estimate the size of the private placement market
  • Describe key post-issuance requirements and considerations

Module 2 - Alternative Assets and Private Equity (CIRO CE PD Credits: 3)

In this module, we discuss alternative investments. We look at how alternative investments differ from the traditional asset classes and how commodities, real estate, farmland, timber, infrastructure, and collectibles can function as alternative assets in a diversified portfolio. We also explain how to invest in commodities through futures and futures options, and finally, we examine the role of private equity as an alternative investment.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Explain the benefits of investing in alternative investments
  • Describe how commodities can fit in an investment portfolio
  • Compare the different methods of investing in commodities
  • Explain the merits of using real estate in a client portfolio
  • Compare the different ways to invest in real estate and mortgages
  • Discuss farmland, timberland, and infrastructure investment
  • Explain the risks and benefits of investing in collectibles
  • Explain the benefits and risks of private equity investing
  • Compare the different ways to invest in private equity

Module 3 - Alternative Strategies: Hedge Funds and Liquid Alts (CIRO CE PD Credits: 6)

In this course, we focus on alternative strategies and the investment vehicles that are available to access these strategies. We explain how alternative strategies can fit into a client portfolio, we outline the due diligence steps for evaluating alternative funds, and we identify the tools used to measure performance.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Explain what an alternative investment is
  • Discuss the benefits of adding alternative investments to a portfolio
  • Differentiate the main product features and regulatory restrictions for conventional mutual funds, traditional (exempt market) alternative investments, alternative mutual funds, closed-end funds, and ETFs
  • Explain the various types of alternative strategies included in the relative value, event-driven and directional strategy classifications
  • Describe alternative strategy risk drivers
  • Explain how alternative strategy funds use derivatives
  • Discuss the advantages and potential risks for alternative strategy fund use of derivatives
  • Describe the due diligence process that should be conducted when contemplating investment in an alternative strategy fund
  • Identify the investor groups to whom liquid alts might be most suitable for

Module 4 - Impediments to Wealth Accumulation (CIRO CE PD Credits: 2)

In this module, you will learn about the erosive effect that taxes, inflation, and transaction costs can have on investors’ savings. You will also learn about the strategies and assets investors can use to reduce the impact of those impediments to wealth accumulation. We discuss several tax-aware portfolio management strategies and explain the features of different assets that can be used to reduce taxes and transaction costs and hedge against inflation.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Demonstrate the effect of inflation on wealth assets
  • Explain how different investments are taxed
  • Recommend appropriate tax-advantaged solutions and strategies
  • Recommend the liquidation of investments that generate capital losses to offset gains
  • Recommend strategies to minimize and control the timing of taxes
  • Describe tax-efficient investment options
  • Analyze the tax efficiency of investments within a wealth accumulation plan
  • Identify assets that retain their purchasing power
  • Identify some of the most cost-efficient types of investments

Module 5 - Managing Your Client's Investment Risk (CIRO CE PD Credits: 3.5)

In this module, you will learn about some basic risks that investors and advisors should be aware of. We explain how investment risk can be measured, and we describe various strategies and investment products that can be used to reduce it.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Explain how various risks can affect investment portfolios
  • Evaluate a portfolio’s investment risk
  • Explain how options strategies can reduce a portfolio’s investment risk
  • Explain how futures contracts can reduce a portfolio’s investment risk
  • Explain how the contract for difference (CFD) can be used to reduce a portfolio’s investment risk
  • Explain how principal-protected notes can be used to reduce a portfolio’s investment risk
  • Explain how segregated funds can be used to reduce a portfolio’s investment risk

Module 6 - International Investing (CIRO CE PD Credits: 1.5)

In this module, you will learn about the theory on which international investing is based, along with the different global equity markets and the major international equity benchmarks. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of international investing and describe the types of investment vehicles that can be used. Furthermore, we describe the skills advisors should have to invest successfully in the international markets. Finally, we discuss asset allocation analysis in the context of an increasingly close positive correlation between the international markets.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Discuss the finance and capital market theories that form a basis for international investing
  • Identify the three major constituent regions that make up the global equity market
  • Describe the most commonly used international equity market indexes
  • Describe the advantages of international investing
  • Describe the disadvantages and risks of international investing
  • Discuss the three primary ways through which investors can invest in global markets
  • Define the skills advisors should have to succeed in international investing
  • Describe the issues inherent in asset allocation models that may reduce their effectiveness in international investing

Module 7 - Portfolio Solutions (CIRO CE PD Credits: 2.5)

In this module, we discuss portfolio solution programs that offer clients a disciplined approach to designing, monitoring, and rebalancing portfolios while allowing advisors to concentrate their efforts on identifying and monitoring client needs. We describe the main categories of these programs and the role they play in client portfolios. We also discuss the active role advisors must take in allocating assets. You will learn about fee structures, selection criteria, and tax considerations for portfolio solutions, along with the methods used to monitor and evaluate their performance. Finally, you will learn about the growing field of overlay management and the changes it has brought about in the investment landscape.

Topics covered in this module are:

  • Compare and contrast the three main categories of portfolio solutions programs in terms of structure, process, product types, benefits, and drawbacks
  • Explain the role of portfolio solutions and how they affect asset allocation decisions
  • Defend the conclusion that portfolio solutions do not lessen an advisor’s active role in strategic asset allocation
  • Analyze the program, compensation, and redemption fee structures associated with portfolio solutions
  • Explain how client account size, customization requirements, and due diligence requirements guide the selection of portfolio solutions
  • Measure and evaluate the performance of portfolio solutions by calculating absolute and relative returns, and conducting a performance attribution analysis, as well as understand the impact of fees on measures of performance