- May 1, 2016; Vol. 3, Number 5

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Getting Real About Assets: Investors are starting to think beyond two-dimensional stock and bond portfolios

by Jodie Gunzberg

Over the past five years, investment in real asset strategies has increased by 325 percent, with 80 percent of institutions targeting up to 15 percent of their portfolios, and two-thirds still feeling they are underinvested. One of the main reasons for the increase in allocations to real assets is that investors are looking to manage risk in a new way with new tools. Today, investors are experiencing high correlation across assets as in the recessions of 2001–2003 and 2007–2009, so they are moving from traditional asset class allocations defined by security-type to risk-type based allocations. For example, rather than defining asset classes by traditional definitions like stocks, bonds and real estate, investors are considering asset classes by risk-type similarities that tend to provide inflation protection and diversification. Popular risk-based allocation models often include growth, income, liquidity and real assets as categories for portfolio construction.


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