Displaying items by tag: diversification

Many investors may be looking to diversify their portfolios given recent gains in equities. While there are many options, leveraged index annuities can reduce portfolio risk while still offering some growth potential.  

Leveraged index annuities are typically bought upfront with a single payment. The interest earned on these products is not taxable until it is withdrawn, which also makes them an effective vehicle for saving.  

These annuities are leveraged to a major market index like the S&P 500. Interest is earned when the underlying index appreciates; however, there is no loss of principal in the event that the index suffers losses. 

The tradeoff is that interest earned on the annuity is capped depending on the terms of the annuity agreement. For instance, the maximum earnable rate of interest could be set at 12%. This means that in a year like 2023, when the S&P 500 was up 24%, the annuity owner’s earned interest would be capped at 12%. On the other hand, the annuity owner would have seen no loss of principal when the S&P 500 was down 19% in the previous year.  

This combination makes leveraged index annuities ideal for investors who want to diversify and de-risk their portfolios while still growing their wealth.


Finsum: Leveraged index annuities are a way for investors to reduce risk and increase diversification while still allowing for appreciation. 

Published in Alternatives
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:21

Blackrock: Bitcoin A Good Portfolio Diversifier

Robert Mitchnick, Blackrock’s digital asset lead, believes that bitcoin is more like ‘digital gold’ rather than a ‘risk-on’ asset, despite its strong correlation to equities in recent years. Throughout bitcoin’s existence, there has been a constant debate about its true nature. Some argue that bitcoin is like gold given that there is a fixed supply, which means that it should provide protection against inflation. 

While this may be true in theory, in reality, bitcoin has largely moved in the same direction as equities, which undermines the argument that it offers diversification. In 2022, bitcoin tumbled as the world dealt with the highest levels of inflation in decades. Notably, equities were also down 25% in 2022. In the following year, as equity markets made new highs, bitcoin also followed and made new highs as well. 

Despite this relationship, Mitchnik believes that historically, bitcoin has demonstrated very little correlation to stocks. He attributes the recent rally to excitement around the launch of bitcoin ETFs in the US. In terms of allocation, he recommends between 1 and 3% for investors to provide diversification and differentiated returns. The argument about bitcoin’s nature is germane for investors who want to understand whether it will make their portfolio more risky or more diversified. 


Finsum: There are two camps when it comes to bitcoin. One sees bitcoin as an asset that is closely correlated to equities; while the other believes that bitcoin is more like gold and can help diversify portfolios.

Published in Alternatives

2024 has proven to be a much more challenging year for financial markets than 2023. Entering the year, the consensus was that the economy would continue to weaken, inflation would keep trending lower, and the Fed would be proactive and aggressive in cutting rates. 

Clearly, this has not happened. Amid this new paradigm, allocators are understandably looking to make appropriate adjustments to portfolios. Here’s why they should consider increasing exposure to active strategies.  

With fixed income, active investing can allow for precise exposure to a specific theme. For instance, those who don’t believe that inflation will keep trending lower may want to have higher exposure to short-duration debt. Another benefit is that active managers are able to quickly change strategies depending on how events develop, which makes them particularly useful in the current environment. This means that holdings can be optimized for the current environment of ‘higher for longer, but then managers can quickly pivot once the Fed actually starts cutting rates.

Active strategies can also be useful in other asset classes, such as international equities, which currently appeal to many investors due to favorable valuations relative to US equities. With active management, there is more focus on bottom-up, fundamental-focused analysis, which can result in more alpha in less efficient markets. Further, it can also lead to more diversification and risk management than is typically found with passive investing.


Finsum: The first quarter of 2024 has had several unexpected developments. Here’s why allocators should consider active management to navigate this tricky environment. 

Published in Wealth Management

As interest rates remain higher for longer, borrowers are increasingly turning to an alternative source of funding: private credit. These arrangements benefit both sides of the transaction; lenders receive higher returns than traditional loans, and their clients get a source of financing with the flexibility to meet their unique needs.

 

With alternative asset managers packaging their private credit investments to accommodate smaller account sizes, this asset class is showing up more in investors' portfolios.

 

This product proliferation gives investors key advantages that are hard to find elsewhere. Private credit typically has a low correlation to stocks and bonds, which are often the mainstay of an investor's portfolio. It also provides an opportunity for higher returns than more traditional debt instruments.

 

Private credit's advantages, diversification and higher returns, come at a cost. These funds can be less liquid than traditional investments, and the return, as with most investments, is not guaranteed.

 

However, private credit may be an asset class to consider for investors with a time horizon that allows them to put a portion of their account in less liquid investments and who desire a chance at higher returns.


Finsum: Read how private credit offers investors the opportunity for greater diversification and higher returns than more traditional forms of debt investments.

 

Published in Wealth Management

Natixis conducted a survey of 500 investment professionals, managing a combined $35 trillion in assets. The survey showed that investors are adjusting their allocations in expectations of more volatility in 2024 due to more challenging macroeconomic conditions. 

 

A major change in the survey is increasing preference towards active strategies as 58% noted that active outperformed passive for them in 2023, and 63% believe active will outperform this year. Overall, 75% of professionals believe that being active will help in identifying alpha in the new year. 

 

In terms of fixed income, 62% see outperformance in long-duration bonds, although only 25% have actually increased exposure due to uncertainty about the Fed. In addition to increasing duration, many are interested in increasing quality with 44% looking to increase exposure to investment-grade corporate debt and US Treasuries. 

 

Money continues to flow to alternatives with 66% believing that there will be significant delta between private and public market returns. Within the asset class, fund selectors are most bullish on private equity and private debt at 55%. 

 

With regards to model portfolios, 85% of firms now offer them either in-house or through third-party firms. Due to increasing demand, the number of offerings are expected to increase. Benefits include additional diligence and increased odds of client retention during periods of uncertainty. They also help form deeper relationships with more trust between advisors and clients, leading to more of a relationship focused on comprehensive, financial planning. 


Finsum: Natixis conducted a survey of 500 investment professionals and found that model portfolios are increasingly popular. Another major theme is that volatility is expected to remain elevated in 2024 due to uncertainty about the economy and Fed policy. 

 

Published in Wealth Management
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