A few people have recently expressed concerns to us about market volatility and where the economy is heading. Other people have asked us what options are available to help drive portfolio returns in the midst of such low yields on bonds (the two year Treasury yield recently hit its lowest point ever at 0.6 percent and the 10 year yield is now below three percent). Alternative assets, which we have built into client portfolios over the past few years, are a natural solution for reducing portfolio volatility and boosting returns. As a firm, Highland now has approximately 20 percent invested in alternative assets and even our most conservative clients generally have 10 percent or more of their portfolio exposure in alternative asset classes. Over the past quarter in fact, most of the alternative asset classes were down ½ or less than the equity markets and some (specifically gold and certain hedge funds) were actually up.
We wrote a white paper as a primer on alternative assets, which generally help mute portfolio volatility due to their low correlations with traditional asset classes. As mentioned, they can also help bolster returns. Alternative assets do have some drawbacks: namely, they tend to have longer investment horizons, involve higher risk at times, and have less liquidity than traditional asset classes. In the past the cost of participating in alternative investments was prohibitively high, however, there are now more options that allow investors to participate at lower dollar amounts. If you’re curious about alternative asset classes and what role they play in your portfolio, the white paper is a good introduction for how these asset classes behave and a description of the mechanics for making investments.
If interested in the white paper, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll send it to you for free.
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