Diversification: An Expensive Lunch Recently, But Free Over Time
The Benefits of Diversification Ebb and Flow, But Now is Not the Time to Abandon the Time-Tested Strategy
One of the most important concepts taught to MBA students in Investments 101 is that portfolio diversification is fundamental to a sound investment strategy. In 1952, Harry Markowitz, pioneer of Modern Portfolio Theory, coined the oft-cited phrase, “Diversification is the only free lunch” in finance. Diversification has earned this reputation because of its ability to produce superior risk-adjusted returns over time.
Read the full commentary by Brandon Thomas, Chief Investment Officer at Envestnet | PMC. He examines the cyclicality of diversification over the past 18 years (1999 to 2016), defines the periods of outperformance and underperformance of a diversified versus a non-diversified portfolio, and includes the contributions from individual asset classes during these periods.
The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for general and educational purposes only. Nothing contained in this review is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. All investments carry a certain risk, and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time. An investor may experience loss of principal.
Investment decisions should always be made based on the investor’s specific financial needs and objectives, goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. The asset classes and/or investment strategies described may not be suitable for all investors and investors should consult with an investment advisor to determine the appropriate investment strategy. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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Investments in smaller companies carry greater risk than is customarily associated with larger companies for various reasons such as volatility of earnings and prospects, higher failure rates, and limited markets, product lines or financial resources. Investing overseas involves special risks, including the volatility of currency exchange rates and, in some cases, limited geographic focus, political and economic instability, and relatively illiquid markets. Income (bond) securities are subject to interest rate risk, which is the risk that debt securities in a portfolio will decline in value because of increases in market interest rates. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are subject to risks similar to those of stocks, such as market risk. Investing in ETFs may bear indirect fees and expenses charged by ETFs in addition to its direct fees and expenses, as well as indirectly bearing the principal risks of those ETFs. ETFs may trade at a discount to their net asset value and are subject to the market fluctuations of their underlying investments. Investing in commodities can be volatile and can suffer from periods of prolonged decline in value and may not be suitable for all investors. Index Performance is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment product or portfolio. An investment cannot be made directly into an index.
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PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.