An alternative investment is an investment product other than traditional investments such as stocks, bonds or cash. Most alternative investment assets are held by institutional investors or accredited, high-net-worth individuals because of their complex nature, limited regulations and relative lack of liquidity. Some of the more common alternative investments strategies real estate investment trusts, hedge funds, managed futures, private equity, venture capital, and limited partnerships. Wine, art and antiques, indeed any business of value, might also be considered as an alternative investment.
One common theme to alternative investments is that they are often hoped to have modest correlations with traditional investments and so to increase the diversification of investor's portfolios. Alternative investments are favoured mainly because their returns have a low correlation with those of standard asset classes. Because of this, many large institutional funds such as pensions and private endowments have begun to allocate portions of their portfolios to alternative investments such as hedge funds.
However, many alternative investments also have high minimum investments and fee structures compared to mutual funds and ETFs. While they are subject to less regulation, they also have less opportunity to publish verifiable performance data and advertise to potential investors. While the small investor may be shut out of some alternative investment opportunities, real estate and commodities vehicles such as REITs and Managed Futures are widely available.
WLM incorporates alternate investments into clients’ portfolios to manage risk by diversifying outside traditional asset classes and reducing volatility.