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Sports stars lined up for investment summit

Don't be surprised if you bump into boxing legend Riddick Bowe or former Major League Baseball star Darryl Strawberry next week, because they will be in Bermuda for a business conference.

The two men are among a group of sporting celebrities lined up to add a touch of glitz to the World Alternative Investment Summit Bermuda, which is being held at the Fairmont Southampton from October 11 to 13.

The event made its Bermuda debut last year, and organisers expect next week's summit to be bigger and better.

The conference looks at alternative investments, and it is being promoted as the largest gathering of asset managers, family office and investment professionals.

There will be a wide range of discussion sessions covering, among other topics, multi-generational family wealth, fund structuring and compliance, global and Bermuda regulatory updates, blockchain technology and cybersecurity, and how artificial intelligence might soon be replacing portfolio managers.

Tony Sanfelice, president of event-organising company Radius Financial Education, said the event is expected to attract around 300 attendees from a variety of sectors, including investor groups, family offices, high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors.

“It is focused on fund industry,” said Mr Sanfelice. “We have a number of very successful finance people, such as Jon Najarian, of Najarian Family Office and CNBC's Halftime Report, and Michael Murphy, of Rosecliff Ventures who look to invest in high-tech organisations, and he will speak about that at the conference.”

Other speakers at the summit include Charles Smith, of Charles Smith Exchange, Finn Poschmann, president of Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and Ted Morton, the former Alberta minister of energy and minister of finance.

The guest speakers from the world of finance and investing will not be the only big hitters at the event, because former world heavyweight boxing champions Ray Mercer, James Toney, Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, and the aforementioned Bowe, will be present and involved in a networking event.

Former MLB star Mr Strawberry, who played with the New York Mets and New York Yankees, will give a keynote presentation. And Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, a National Basketball League Hall of Famer, is returning for a second year.

It was the impact of Mr Pearl's involvement last year, news of which was spread to more than 400,000 followers on Twitter, that led to the expanded line-up of sporting celebrities this year.

Mr Sanfelice said: “What really makes this year's event very special is the fact that it's the only investment conference in Bermuda that reaches outside the financial sector to include professional athletes, social programmes, and government. All united in one event.”

Mr Pearl, who played with the Baltimore Bullets and New York Knicks, visited organisations on the island last year, including CedarBridge Academy where he shared advice and tips with students. Similar community outreach is expected this year from the sporting celebrity guests.

Chris Jones, of Radius, handles the non-profit side of the event, the athletes and the community outreach. After seeing the positive impact of Mr Pearl at the 2016 event, he suggested bringing the five heavyweight boxing champions this time.

“They said they'd like to come. We had the connection with Darryl Strawberry, and he has a tremendous story. He was eager to come to the conference and talk,” said Mr Jones.

The former boxers are expected to meet with school students during their visit.

“We want these guys to impact the kids who are doing the right thing and going to school. Every one of our group wants to make a difference,” said Mr Jones.

This year's conference is supporting local charity Family Centre.

The summit was brought to Bermuda after Radius linked up with the Bermuda Business Development Agency.

Mr Sanfelice said: “The BDA approached me at one of our Canadian events. They sponsored our event in Canada and we partnered to create WAIS in Bermuda.

“Part of the goal for the BDA was to develop the fund investment business. The BDA has been excellent, in particular Sean Moran. I have worked with him for two years. He had the vision; he saw this development. He has made a lot of introductions.”

One of the aims of the BDA is to strengthen and increase the island's share of the global fund industry business, and Mr Sanfelice is upbeat on the island's prospects of doing so.

Mr Jones said: “We are here to strengthen it, to make high-net-worth individuals aware of Bermuda's financial institution, its financial stability and its opportunities.”

Further information on the summit can be found at

Conference with a difference: Chris Jones, left, and Tony Sanfelice, of Radius Financial Education, with Sean Moran, right, of the Bermuda Business Development Agency. Radius is the organiser of the WAIS 2017 Summit, which will be held in Bermuda next week (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published October 05, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated October 05, 2017 at 12:25 am)

Sports stars lined up for investment summit

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