What are the ups and downs of alternative investing?

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In recent years, investing has become an increasingly popular topic of discussion, with individuals and institutions alike seeking to maximize their returns and achieve financial security. 

The recent surge in interest has been fueled in part by the unprecedented market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created both challenges and opportunities for investors. From the meteoric rise of meme stocks like GameStop and AMC, to the explosive growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, investing has become a hotly debated topic in the media and in online forums. 

As investors grapple with the rapidly changing investment landscape, many are turning to alternative investments as a way to diversify their portfolios and hedge against market volatility. In this context, it is essential to understand the upsides and downsides of alternative investing and the risks and rewards associated with different asset classes.

Alternative investing refers to investing in assets other than traditional stocks, bonds, and cash. Some common examples of alternative investments include real estate, commodities, private equity, hedge funds, and collectibles. 

Here are some upsides and downsides of alternative investing:

Upsides:

  • Diversification 

Diversification is an essential aspect of effective investment management. Alternative investments offer a way to diversify an investment portfolio and reduce overall risk by spreading investments across different asset classes. 

By investing in a mix of traditional and alternative assets, investors can potentially achieve higher returns while minimizing downside risks.

  • Higher returns

Alternative investments may offer higher returns than traditional investments, particularly during times of low-interest rates. 

These assets often have unique characteristics and may offer exposure to sectors or industries that are not typically available through traditional investments. 

For example, private equity investments may offer access to emerging technologies or high-growth companies that are not yet public.

  • Low correlation 

One of the key benefits of alternative investments is their low correlation with traditional investments. 

This means that they often have little or no correlation with stocks, bonds, or other traditional assets, providing a hedge against market volatility. 

This low correlation can help diversify a portfolio and reduce the overall risk of the portfolio.

  • Tangible assets

Many alternative investments are tangible assets that offer a level of security and stability that traditional investments cannot. 

For example, real estate or commodities are physical assets that have intrinsic value and can provide a hedge against inflation. 

Collectibles or art may also hold value over time and can offer potential appreciation over the long term.

Downsides:

  • Illiquidity

Illiquidity is one of the primary downsides of alternative investments. Many of these investments are not traded on public exchanges, which means they can be difficult to sell quickly if needed. 

This can be a problem for investors who need to access their funds quickly or who may need to rebalance their portfolios.

  • High fees

High fees and expenses are also a common downside of alternative investments. Many alternative investments come with higher fees than traditional investments, which can eat into returns and reduce overall profitability. 

This is particularly true for private equity or hedge funds, which may charge performance fees or management fees.

  • Limited regulation

Limited regulation is another downside of alternative investments. Many alternative investments are not subject to the same regulations as traditional investments, which can expose investors to greater risks. 

This can make it more challenging for investors to evaluate the risks and potential returns of a particular investment.

  • Lack of transparency

Lack of transparency is also a common issue with alternative investments. These investments may lack transparency, making it difficult for investors to fully understand the risks and potential returns associated with a particular investment. 

This can make it more challenging for investors to make informed investment decisions and manage their portfolios effectively.

  • Complexity

Alternative investments can be complex and difficult to understand. Many of these investments require specialized knowledge and proficiency to evaluate and manage effectively. 

This can be a challenge for individual investors who may not have the necessary knowledge or resources to evaluate the risks and potential returns of alternative investments.

How do financial advisers view market downsides?

Financial advisers view market downsides as a potential risk that investors should be aware of and prepared for. While market downturns can create challenges and uncertainty for investors, they can also present opportunities for those who are prepared to take advantage of them.

Advisers generally recommend that investors maintain a well-diversified portfolio that includes a mix of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, and alternative investments. Diversification helps to reduce the impact of market volatility on the portfolio and improve overall risk-adjusted returns.

Advisers also emphasize the importance of a long-term investment perspective. Short-term market fluctuations are inevitable, and investors should avoid making impulsive decisions based on these fluctuations. By focusing on long-term investment goals and holding quality assets over time, investors can ride out short-term market volatility and achieve superior returns over the long term.

In addition to diversification and a long-term perspective, advisers may recommend other strategies for managing downside risks, such as setting appropriate stop-loss limits, using hedging strategies, and regularly monitoring investments for potential risks and opportunities.

Overall, financial advisers recognize that market downsides are a natural part of investing and encourage investors to prepare for them by diversifying their portfolios, maintaining a long-term perspective, and using appropriate risk management strategies. By taking a disciplined and informed approach to investing, investors can protect their investments from downside risks to  help achieve their investment goals over time.

Is there a good side in market volatility?

Market volatility can be viewed from different perspectives, depending on one’s investment goals and risk tolerance. While it may cause uncertainty and losses for some investors, others may see it as an opportunity for profit and portfolio optimization.

Market volatility can create buying opportunities for investors who are willing to take on more risk. During market downturns, for example, many stocks may become undervalued, providing an opportunity to buy at a discount. 

Increased trading activity during volatile times can also lead to increased liquidity and tighter bid-ask spreads. Additionally, market volatility can reveal the true value of assets, as market participants reassess their expectations and beliefs about the future. This can improve price discovery and lead to a more efficient market.

Furthermore, market volatility can spur innovation and drive technological progress, as companies seek to adapt to changing market conditions and consumer preferences. This can lead to new investment opportunities in emerging sectors, such as renewable energy, biotechnology, or artificial intelligence.

However, market volatility also comes with risks, such as increased market uncertainty and the potential for losses. Investors should carefully evaluate their investment goals and risk tolerance before making investment decisions during times of market volatility. 

Professional financial advice may be helpful in developing a strategy that aligns with an individual’s specific investment goals and risk profile.

Protecting investment from downsides

Effective investment management involves employing a range of strategies to safeguard portfolios and improve risk-adjusted returns. Diversification across various asset classes is one of the most effective strategies for managing risk. This approach reduces the impact of market volatility and ensures that investments are spread across different sectors and industries. Asset allocation and risk management techniques, such as stop-loss limits and hedging strategies, can also help manage risk effectively.

Investors should actively monitor their investments to identify potential risks and opportunities in the market. This includes regularly reviewing financial reports, staying up-to-date with economic indicators, and maintaining a good understanding of underlying assets. Seeking professional financial advice can also provide valuable insights into investment strategies that align with an individual’s investment goals and risk tolerance.

Maintaining a long-term investment perspective is also essential to achieve investment goals. Impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations can undermine long-term investment objectives. Holding quality assets over the long-term can help investors ride out short-term market volatility and generate superior returns over time.

Overall, effective investment management involves a combination of diversification, risk management, active monitoring, seeking professional advice, and maintaining a long-term perspective. By adopting these strategies, investors can protect their portfolios from potential losses to help achieve their investment goals.

Outlook for Alternative Investments

Alternative investments have become an increasingly popular choice for investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and achieve higher returns. The outlook for alternative investments is positive, with many experts predicting continued growth in the sector over the coming years.

One factor driving the growth of alternative investments is the low-interest-rate environment. With interest rates at historic lows, investors are seeking alternative sources of yield, and alternative investments may offer higher returns than traditional investments.

Another factor is the increasing availability of alternative investments to a broader range of investors. Previously, alternative investments were mainly available to high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. However, recent developments such as crowdfunding platforms and new investment vehicles have made alternative investments more accessible to individual investors.

The rise of new technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, is also creating new opportunities in the alternative investment space. For example, blockchain technology has enabled the development of new investment products, such as digital assets and cryptocurrencies, which are becoming increasingly popular among investors.

Despite the potential benefits of alternative investments, it is essential to note that they also come with risks. These investments are often less liquid, less regulated, and more complex than traditional investments, which can expose investors to greater risk. As such, investors should carefully evaluate their investment goals and risk tolerance before making investment decisions.

In conclusion, the outlook for alternative investments can be positive, with continued growth to be expected in the sector over the coming years. These investments may offer higher returns than traditional investments, and new technologies are creating new opportunities in the space. However, investors should be aware of the risks associated with alternative investments and evaluate their investment goals and risk tolerance carefully.

Michael Landsberg, CIMA®, CFP®, AIF®, serves as the Chief Investment Officer of Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management, a Florida-based boutique private wealth management company. With a B.S. from Babson College and an M.B.A. from the University of Florida, he began his career at Morgan Stanley before managing investments in Florida. He believes in disciplined, rules-based investment strategies, and strives to provide exceptional service to clients. 

Disclaimer:

Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management is a group comprised of investment professionals registered with Hightower Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. Some investment professionals may also be registered with Hightower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Hightower Advisors, LLC. Securities are offered through Hightower Securities, LLC. All information referenced herein is from sources believed to be reliable. Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management and Hightower Advisors, LLC have not independently verified the accuracy of completeness of the information contained in this document. [Advisor Practice] and Hightower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates make no representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or for statements or errors or omissions, or results obtained from the use of this information. Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management and Hightower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates assume no liability for any action made or taken in reliance on or relating in any way to the information. This document and the materials contained herein were created for informational purposes only; the opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s), and do not represent those of Hightower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates. Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management and Hightower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. This material was not intended or written to be used or presented to any entity as tax or legal advice. Clients are urged to consult their tax and/or legal advisor for related
questions.

Hightower Advisors, LLC is an SEC registered investment adviser. Securities are offered through Hightower Securities, LLC member FINRA and SIPC. Hightower Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. This material is not intended or written to provide and should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for tax or legal advice. Information contained herein does not consider an individual’s or entity’s specific circumstances or applicable governing law, which may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and be subject to
change. Clients are urged to consult their tax or legal advisor for related questions.

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