A useful distinction

One useful way to compare alternatives is to consider their "contents" and "containers."

Contents can be either the assets themselves (e.g. currency or real estate) or the investment strategy employed (e.g. long/short strategy or event driven strategy). Either way, the contents determine how individual investments might be expected to perform relative to traditional investments.

Containers define the vehicles in which investments might be found, such as hedge funds, private equity funds and mutual funds, all of which are structured differently for a variety of management, liquidity, legal and regulatory reasons. Hedge funds, for example, are categorized together because of their ability to go both long and short with the goal of delivering idiosyncratic sources of return which are differentiated from traditional asset classes, not because their contents are all the same.

Accessing alternative investments:
Contents versus containers

Accessing Alternative Investments: Contents Vs. Containers


Thinking in terms of contents and containers can help you diversify your portfolio not only by investment type, but by investment vehicle. Different contents can help you mitigate risk in your portfolio and gain exposure to additional markets. Meanwhile, different containers can help you address distinct needs (e.g., liquidity, transparency, ease of access, etc.).

Contact us to find out more
Please contact your BlackRock Account Manager for information relating to our Alternatives options in Australia.

Meet our alternatives team

The BlackRock Alternative Investors (BAI) team of 990+ dedicated professionals partners with the firm’s multidisciplinary teams and leverages extensive company-wide resources in an effort to deliver consistent returns over the long term.

Key stats about BlackRock’s alternatives platform.


Source: BlackRock. All dollar figures are in US dollars. Number of professionals is as of September 30, 2019 and excludes contingent workers and interns. Client assets are as of September 30, 2019 and include committed capital. Client assets include currencies and commodities. Alternative credit is reported in BlackRock Alternatives. Leveraged finance is not included in the alternative client assets figure.

Global leadership
Edwin N. Conway
Head of BlackRock Alternative Investors
Edwin N. Conway, is responsible for BlackRock’s alternatives strategy and the delivery of the firm’s alternatives investments to institutional clients.
Jim Barry
Chief Investment Officer, BlackRock Alternative Investors
Jim Barry, Managing Director, is the Chief Investment Officer of BlackRock Alternatives Investors (BAI) and Global Head of BlackRock Real Assets.
APAC leadership
Michael Dennis
Head of Alternatives Strategy & Capital Markets in Asia-Pacific
Michael Dennis, Managing Director, is responsible for leading BlackRock Alternative Investors (BAI) and BlackRock Capital Markets (BCM) in Asia-Pacific.