Over 200 investors and investment experts will descend on the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill today for a conference where they’ll to learn how to leverage and adopt the latest private equity focused academic research. The Alternative Investments Conference is a one-day conference spearheaded by the Institute for Private Capital (IPC), a multi-university research collaborative led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School.

To learn more about the conference, what it offers to investors and those studying private capital, and what attendees should expect to learn at the conference, we spoke with one of the conference organizers, Shawn Munday, the Executive Director of IPC and a professor of practice at Kenan-Flagler. When asked what distinguishes this conference from others, Munday said, “there’s no other conference that I know of that brings this audience of practitioners together with this level of academic content.”

The Institute for Private Capital

Housed at UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School, the IPC brings together researchers and practitioners from across the country to conduct fundamental practical research on the most pressing topics facing the private capital industry and how the industry impacts the broader economy. The IPC acts as the hub, but engages other research institutions and practitioners on each research topic. The IPC engages in research on private equity, real estate, and infrastructure—but depending on expertise, different partners form around each topic area. For example, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of Oxford, the University of Chicago, and a Duke University advisory board all partner to research and develop best practices in private equity. Meanwhile, the real estate collaborative has different partners. UNC-Chapel Hill is the one common partner for all research efforts through the IPC.

Because their research efforts are practical and non-theoretical, one of the core responsibilities of the IPC is to share their learnings and research with the practitioners themselves, says Munday. They view this conference—one of twelve such events the IPC conducts each year—as a pivotal means to that end. Munday says that bringing the researchers, practitioners, and limited partners together into one room to learn the newest scholarship and how to implement it fosters innovation and dialogue that otherwise is absent from the field.

The Alternative Investments Conference

Attendees of the conference can expect to learn best practices in portfolio optimization and in capital allocation. Munday says attendees will learn the “best knowledge that is out there to optimize the risk return on their parameters,” and will learn strategies for allocating capital in a market where everything looks overpriced. Typical attendees and those that benefit from the conference include all levels of the alternative investment community such as institutional investors, high net worth investors, family fund managers, general managers that manage private capital pools, and academics.

Munday says attendees should expect to “participate in a variety of sessions run by industry thought leaders in the investment manager and allocator universe and get perspectives in the latest thinking and thoughts in those investor networks.”

Keynote speakers are industry thought leaders and include representatives from large financial institutions like Bryan Lewis, the Chief Investment Officer of Pennsylvania’s State Employees Retirement System and Adam Taback, Executive VP and Head of Global alternatives at Wells Fargo. The Triangle’s investment community is represented by local investors like Bull City Venture Partners David Jones.

Session topics range from “Global Credit,” to “The Role of Emerging Markets in Private Equity,” to “Buyout and Venture Capital.”

Munday says he and the other conference organizers hope attendees leave the conference, “having identified one or two new opportunities or risks that they had not thought about previously that they can go back and incorporate in their thinking and operationalize in their portfolio.”