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- October 2012: Vol. 24 No. 9

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Get Real: Real Assets Are Becoming the Rage, but Can They Live Up to the Hype?

by Brad Berton

As the Federal Reserve holds interest rates near all-time lows to help stimulate the still-sluggish economic recovery, yield-obsessed investors are pushing blue-chip share prices toward all-time highs. Accordingly, a couple of rhyme-time issues are dominating brainstorming these days among professionals overseeing institutional investment allocations: inflation and correlation.

Amid expectations of further inflationary pressures and securities market volatility, savvy decision makers are targeting investments offering one coveted characteristic often associated with real estate (a hedge against rising prices) and another that often is not (low correlation to stock and bond prices). For many, an attractive new-wave solution is to strategically supplement traditional real estate investments with other tangible “real” assets, such as infrastructure projects, energy systems, certain commodities, and timber and agricultural tracts.

Hence, the newfangled “real assets s

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