• The Case for Alternatives  

    Investors have enjoyed a record-long bull market in equity markets—with potentially many more periods of upward movement ahead. But, as this bull market stumbles and volatility increases, maintaining return sources and risk exposure beyond stocks and bonds seems increasingly prudent. Recent market turmoil further highlights why a best practice in portfolio construction includes varied return sources.

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    Financial TV networks are filled with investors offering their insights into where markets will move in the future. Will there be a recession in 2020? Will the S&P hit new records? The reality is no one knows.

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    We are days away from closing out the decade and what an incredible decade it has been for equity investors. Annual returns since 1957 for the S&P 500 Index averaged about 8%, with volatility around 15%; but since January 2010, equities have annualized at 13.3% with volatility at 12.5%. People often think of negative results when they think of black swans, but maybe this was an extremely positive one! Given this incredible result, I’m left questioning why to diversify at all—because clearly it didn’t do anything for you this decade.

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    Over the past decade, one of the most undeniable investment trends has been the move toward passive equity products. The lower fees associated with index funds and a pretty good track record against active strategies in the most efficient markets has led many advisers to build their clients’ portfolios with passive equity strategies. But passive products’ success could be financial markets’ next undoing.

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    As an asset manager that specializes in alternatives, we receive a lot of questions from advisors on the subject. With uncertainty rising in the markets, now may be a great time to freshen up on your alternatives knowledge. Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve received from advisors on alternatives, along with some of our recent blog posts and other resources that may help provide answers.