DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Taylor appears in the Top 100
People in Finance magazine.
If you need marketing taken to the next level, Taylor Colby is the one you call. In the financial industry for nearly a decade and with a focus on alternative and market-neutral income funds, she’s been known to take already high-performing firms and help them shine even brighter. With her knack for brand knowledge, approachable education, and leveraging the best channels to reach the right people, she’s been a driving force behind marketing strategies in the digital realm in every position she’s served. At Calamos, Taylor was key in marketing their full suite of alternatives, convertibles, equity, and fixed income solutions through digital channels. At GCM Grosvenor, she held a pivotal role in their marketing initiatives and, most notably, their IPO launch communications, building the infrastructure from a web development perspective and setting them up for success at the end of 2020. That was also when she took up her current position as director of marketing with AIR Asset Management. The Chicago-based hedge fund management firm has approximately $600 million in AUM in life settlements, annuities, and private credit investments, recently was recognized by eVestment for outperformance in respect to risk and return versus its multi-credit universe, and their flagship fund hasn’t experienced a negative return since 2017.
As director of marketing, Taylor develops and implements all marketing strategies, with a special focus on increasing awareness and education on longevity-based assets. Since starting in 2020, she’s helped the firm increase their assets under management by almost 70%, and her marketing strategies have earned praise from Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA).
We talked with Taylor about how she’s educating people for the benefit of all.
How is AIR Asset Management’s approach to investment different from other firms?
We take a multi-strategy approach, which is unique in the life settlement asset class. Many firms focus solely on life settlements, but our flagship goes beyond and has complimentary investment sleeves such as annuities, structured settlements, and related private credit strategies. One of our newest private credit strategies focuses on litigation finance. The differentiated strategy lends money to the actual law firm and collateralizes their cases which creates another attractive and uncorrelated source of return for our investors. Because our strategy has different components, investors feel confident that they have some diversified liquidity and return streams supporting their primary bet on life settlements.
What is a life settlement?
It’s when a policyholder sells a life insurance policy that they no longer want, need, or can afford. They get a cash payment that exceeds the policy’s surrender value offered by the insurance carrier, and the policyholder no longer has to pay future premiums. It’s an alternative to holding the policy until maturity and receiving the benefit payable from the insurance company.
Why is education around longevity-based assets so important?
The life settlement market and longevity-based asset classes have been historically misunderstood, but I believe they’re a win-win for investors and society alike. Investors have the potential to get consistent, double-digit annual returns without being tied to the volatility of the market. On the flip side, I believe life settlement investments are a direct investment in the physical and financial well-being of senior citizens in the U.S. as many are struggling for financial liquidity for retirement or healthcare expenses. This is such a compelling asset class, and it can positively impact everyday people; these are the main reasons I took this position.
How does awareness of these assets benefit society?
In several ways. First, individuals ill-prepared for retirement can utilize the life settlement proceeds to replace pre-retirement income and maintain a dignified standard of living. Those with disabilities can use the proceeds to pay for long-term care, reducing the stress on both family and taxpayer entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Lastly, some people can’t keep up with premium payments and don’t know that a lump sum option exists. People in actual need can get the benefit of decades of premiums paid on a policy rather than forfeiting it to an insurance company.
Tell us about your strategy to increase the public’s awareness and understanding of this program.
When I started in 2020, AIR Asset Management’s brand awareness and transparency was extremely limited, and I did a lot of digging and research to formulate a plan. I took a variety of methods to get the information out, including blog posts, webinars, email campaigns, social media, and video. I recently hosted my first life settlement industry event, the Private Life Settlement Symposium. I embraced it from a marketing perspective. I believe investors crave this transparency and personality behind those they choose to invest with, especially with all the options out there today, even more so in the alternative space.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
It’s easy to market something you wholeheartedly believe in, especially when those investments benefit both investors and society. AIR Asset Management doesn’t feel like a job because I love what I do. We also have an incredibly talented team. When I started, we had eight people, and now we have 16.
Taylor holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a Claritas® Investment Certificate.
Director of Marketing — AIR Asset Management