Exclusive Interview: REISA CEO John Harrison Talks Alternative Investments

Jacob Harper  |

Alternative investments like non-traded REITs, real estate partnerships, and oil and gas interests are a fast-growing and exciting area rife with opportunity. The rules and regulations affecting them can be complex and constantly shifting, which is why national trade organizations like REISA are so important for helping alternative investment managers stay abreast.

REISA keeps alternative investment managers informed about what’s going on in their industry, and through education, networking and advocacy the organization works to maintain high ethical standards in alternative investing.   

Equities caught up with REISA Executive Director/CEO John Harrison, a 20-year vet of association management, to learn a little bit more about REISA, the expanding scope of the alternative investment space, and what attendees can expect out of of REISA’s Annual Conference and Trade Show on October 6-8 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, NV.

EQ: Can you tell us about REISA?

Harrison: REISA is the trade association in the alternative investment space, and we serve the sponsors, broker dealers, reps, affiliates, and others in that space. Our goal is to bring them together and to serve as their association and provide knowledge and opportunity for networking and also advocacy for the alternative investment space.

EQ: Can you tell us about REISA’s history?

Harrison: REISA is 10 years old this year, and it grew out of a group called TICA, which was the Tenants-in-Common Association. That was really a subset of the alternative space dedicated to that particular investment product. When that product declined, it morphed into a group that would handle much more than just that particular real estate investment side.

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We also got into direct placements, we handle oil and gas folks, we handle the non-traded REITS, and a number of other alternative investments.

EQ: What are the goals for the upcoming REISA Conference?

Harrison: Our goal is to serve as the one-stop annual check in for the professionals in the alternative investment space to come and get rejuvenated. They can come and see their friends, suppliers, and even customers. It’s also an opportunity to come and learn about what’s going on. It’s a constantly changing field, so we have to keep them fresh by providing the best programing that we can.

EQ: What are some prominent industry themes or trends that the conference will address?

Harrison: We have about 50 educational sessions at the conference, and some hot topics this year will be the SEC changes on the general solicitation rules, and we’re putting together something to discuss the government shutdown and the effects that will have.

We work to adapt it up to the last minute to make sure we cover what really helps these people in their daily business.

EQ: Anything else you’d like to add about the conference?

Harrison: We should have over 800 attendees, and we’re on track to surpass last year’s attendance. So we’re looking good in that regard. All our exhibit spaces are sold out. I wish I could hawk a few more booths, but I can’t—they’re all taken. I think we do well in our offerings to folks, and we try to keep it concise. It’s a two-and-a-half day conference, and we cram a lot into that.

EQ: Where can people go to get more information on the conference?

Harrison: Our website http://www.reisaconference.org/ has the complete program for people to get all the information right now.

Click here for more information on the 2013 REISA Annual Conference & Trade Show.

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