Pros and Cons of Investing in Alternative Assets

Alternative investments, which were once the exclusive purview of institutional and wealthy investors, are becoming more and more common and are finding their way into retail (people) investors’ portfolios.

Read More: Alternative investment dictionary

Any assets that are purchased and sold outside of the main stock, bond, and commodity markets are collectively referred to by this phrase. Anything from bitcoins to antiques that are valuable as investments might be considered an alternative. It also includes venture capital firms and private equity transactions.

Alternative investments are appealing, especially to wealthy people who feel they can leverage their esoteric interests into profitable ventures and who have a specific interest (and level of knowledge) in such areas.

The benefits and drawbacks of alternative investing are listed below.

Upside of Alternative Investments

Alternative investments can be utilized to diversify a portfolio and reduce volatility because they usually have no correlation to the stock market. Additionally, some may provide tax advantages not seen in conventional investing.

While the rate of return on alternatives is not guaranteed, like any investment, it has the potential to exceed that of traditional assets.

Advocates of including alternatives in individual investor portfolios assert that, up until recently, only institutions like pension funds and foundations had access to sophisticated investments and possibly greater returns.

Alternative Investment Risks

Compared to conventional investment vehicles, alternative investments are more complicated. They frequently come with greater costs.

Higher risk accompanies the possibility of a larger return, just as in any investment.

Getting Past the Drawbacks

Since the 2008 financial crisis, alternative investments—especially the more liquid ones—have multiplied.

In its widest sense, alternative investments might include mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that employ risk-reduction techniques like to those of hedge funds. Stated differently, the diversity of their portfolios prevents any correlation between their total returns and the performance of the stock or bond markets.

Private equity investments and other alternative investments are increasingly finding their way into 401(k) portfolios. Offering private equity fund underlying assets in defined contribution plans presents a problem since they are typically illiquid and challenging to appraise. Plans with defined contribution features allow members daily pricing and liquidity on investment possibilities. Target-date funds and collective investment trusts are two ways that private equity companies are trying to provide private equity exposure in order to get around issues with pricing and liquidity.

Proponents of including private equity as an option in 401(k) plans argue that by including private equity, the average investor will now have access to potentially higher returns than they would have to choose from among conventional, plain-vanilla options like mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.

Prospective Look at Alternative Assets

According to a survey by data analytics firm Preqin, the total market for alternative investments may reach $14 trillion by 2023. Hedge funds and private equity are included as alternative investment classes in its report.

This might be partially explained by the fact that investing firms have loosened the admission standards for alternative-focused mutual funds. Furthermore, investors themselves now have a preference for assets other than the typical combination of exchange-traded funds, bonds, and mutual funds.

Many emerging economies are becoming more appealing to investors looking for fresh chances by moving away from a savings-oriented approach and toward an investment one.

Nevertheless, given the advent of investing in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, this view could be cautious. Although there is a chance that this investment option may not succeed, the attention it has received from institutions throughout the globe indicates that it might be a good option for investors looking for high-risk/high-return investments.

Equity crowdfunding is another investment that is drawing a lot of capital. Shares of a new firm can be bought by individual investors via websites that provide these possibilities.

This investment has a very high risk because a lot of startup businesses fail. However, there are enough investor success stories to draw even tiny investors to this alternative.

The Final Word

In contrast to mutual funds, stocks, and bonds, proponents of non-traditional investments contend that the typical investor now has access to assets that are not associated with the stock market, providing diversity and maybe superior returns.

In comparison to conventional assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, they are also more erratic. The majority are difficult to sell rapidly due to their considerable illiquidity.

The majority of these options are riskier than traditional investing and frequently involve more complexity.

Instead of seeing alternative investors as the main tactic of a long-term plan, a prudent investor could view them as a tool to diversify.