Our Approach

Investors who seek high returns tend to gravitate towards equities. However, this asset class is susceptible to large and frequent losses.

Our approach to investing is different. Rather than concentrating in equities, we believe that investors can pursue a more consistent return by embracing the power of diversification. Our ETFs are the fullest expression of this investment philosophy.

By including additional asset classes that have historically performed differently in varying economic environments, a risk parity strategy may have the potential to significantly reduce risk without sacrificing returns. The fund will diversify its allocations amongst four asset classes – equities, commodities, Treasury bonds, and Treasury inflation protected securities (TIPS). Equities tend to do well in a strong economy, while Treasury bonds tend to outperform in a weak economy. Both equities and Treasuries tend to underperform when inflation spikes, so inflation hedging assets, such as commodities and TIPS, should be included to further improve diversification.

A risk parity strategy then structures each of the four asset classes to target a similar risk and return. By balancing across these exposures, the portfolio mix is designed to potentially produce a less volatile return than any single asset class could on its own.

Our Team

  • Alex Shahidi

    Alex Shahidi

    Managing Partner, Co-CIO

    Alex is a Managing Partner and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Evoke Advisors. Alex has over 25 years of experience as an investment consultant managing multibillion-dollar portfolios. He began his career at Merrill Lynch, where he led one of the firm’s largest institutional consulting groups, advising more than $10 billion in assets with an average client size of approximately $300 million. After Merrill, Alex co-founded ARIS, where he, along with co-founder Damien Bisserier, oversaw the firm’s research and client service efforts. ARIS merged with Evoke Advisors in 2020. 

    Alex focuses on advising large pension funds, foundations, endowments, and ultra-high-net-worth families. He works with his clients in a variety of financial areas including developing investment policy statements, managing asset allocation, selecting managers, monitoring portfolio performance, and creating financial plans.

    Alex is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), and a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®). 

    Alex graduated cum laude from University of California, Santa Barbara, with degrees in business economics and law. He earned a JD from the University of California, Hastings Law School, and is a licensed attorney in California.

    Alex is a prolific writer. His book titled Balanced Asset Allocation: How to Profit in Any Economic Climate (released in 2014) describes in detail the conceptual framework backing the RPAR Risk Parity ETF. The article introducing the premise of the book was recognized with the IMCA 2012 Stephen L. Kessler Writing Award as well as in the Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, Money News, Fidelity.com, and Wall Street Daily.

    He has been interviewed on Bloomberg Television and BBC as well as for articles in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and other publications. Alex has also contributed articles on asset allocation and long-term equity market cycles to Investments and Wealth Monitor, a national publication of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), and Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher for financial professionals.

  • Damien Bisserier

    Damien Bisserier

    Managing Partner, Co-CIO

    Damien is a Managing Partner and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Evoke Advisors. He has over 20 years of experience advising some of the world’s leading institutional investors and financial companies on investment and risk management issues. Damien began his career at Oliver Wyman, a premier financial services advisory firm. As a consultant, he focused on risk management at global banks and insurance companies. After Oliver Wyman, Damien spent nearly a decade as a Senior Client Advisor and Senior Investment Associate at Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund managers. In this role, Damien was responsible for managing relationships across more than 50 North American institutional clients – including endowments, foundations, pension plans and family offices – ranging in size from $1 billion to $100 billion. Damien advised institutional CIOs on a range of investment topics, including portfolio construction, manger selection and asset-liability management. While at Bridgewater, Damien participated in the rigorous Investment Associate program, a requisite for Bridgewater’s senior investment professionals, which included ongoing testing and education around the global economy and financial markets. In 2014, Damien co-founded ARIS with business partner Alex Shahidi, with whom he oversaw ARIS’ investment research and client service functions. ARIS merged with Evoke Advisors in 2020.

    Damien graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a BSE in operations research and financial engineering.

  • Sergio Villavicencio

    Sergio Villavicencio

    Senior Vice President

    Sergio is a Senior Vice President at Evoke Advisors. Sergio has more than 20 years of experience working with institutional and high net worth investors. He began his career at Merrill Lynch’s institutional consulting group, where he served as a Vice President and Senior Investment Associate. Sergio joined ARIS at its launch in 2014. Sergio’s primary areas of focus include investment performance measurement and attribution, portfolio analysis, institutional client service, and investment policy review and development. ARIS merged with Evoke Advisors in 2020.

    Prior to starting his career at Merrill, Sergio served in the U.S. Army, rising to the position of a Field Artillery Crew Chief. He served the initial three years of his tour in Baumholder, Germany, and his military training includes the U.S Army’s Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) and Air Assault School.

    Sergio earned a master’s degree in finance (MSF) from Northeastern University, graduating with honors. He also has an undergraduate degree in operations management.

    Sergio holds the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation, through the Investments & Wealth Institute (formerly IMCA) and the Wharton School.