The alternative assets industry is expected to reach $14 trillion by 2023.
Surprised? Don't be.
Given the current volatility in the financial markets due to escalating US-China trade wars and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy, it is no wonder that investors are seeking alternative investments to diversify some of that risk.
A steady decline in publicly traded companies combined with investors' need for higher returns is other factors fueling the popularity of alternative assets.
In this post, we will cover:
Ready to find out if this asset class should be part of your investment strategies? Let’s go.
Alternative assets are unconventional financial assets that do not conform to traditional investment categories of stocks, bonds, or ETFs. While most of you may associate alternative assets with exotic investment options like bottles of fine wine, precious metals or rare coins, it can also apply to relatively common investments like real estate, infrastructure, and hedge funds. Most alternative assets are illiquid, and many of them have high minimum investments and fee structures.
Accredited investors flock to alternative investment strategies for a few reasons:
Note: Non-accredited investors or retail investors can also invest in alternative assets with some restrictions.
While alternative assets can assist in the diversification of your portfolio, they have a few drawbacks too:
When it comes to alternative investment management, it’s always a good idea to educate yourself about the assets you want to invest in. If you have questions about how to use your pension funds and self-directed retirement funds to invest in alternative assets, a custodian like Alto can help.
Investing in private equity involves owning a portion of a company that isn’t publicly traded. Companies raise capital from private equity funds for a few reasons -
Note: If you want to invest in PE, you don’t necessarily have to contribute through a PE fund. With Alto you can directly invest with a business owner.
Investors contribute to a company through private equity funds or invest directly using an IRA custodian to finance the company’s goals and aspirations. In return, they’re often given a stake of the business that can appreciate over time.
Some of the crowdfunding platforms where you can directly invest in private equity include: Wefunder and Republic (for non-accredited investors); AngelList and Microventures (for accredited investors).
Private equity investments become valuable once the company starts to grow and appreciate. The valuation of your stake in the company will grow provided the business continues to grow at a steady rate. Investors can then sell their stake for a sum that far exceeds what they invested.
Unlike public investments, private equity is relatively unaffected by market volatility and price changes. However, the returns you get from these investments are dependent on the performance of the company. There’s no guarantee that a company will grow. It’s a high-return but high-risk investment.
Hedge funds are one of the six types of institutional investors. When you invest in a hedge fund, your money is pooled together with other contributions to create a hedge fund’s assets under management.
Like mutual funds in an asset management firm, these investments are operated by hedge fund managers who invest it in different financial assets such as securities and distressed debt. Unlike private equity, hedge funds only invest in equities in public markets.
Hedge funds include a variety of trading strategies that seek out market inefficiencies. This allows hedge fund managers to add significant value to their investments over time. This, of course, is dependent on the performance of these public equities in the market.
While hedge fund managers take an annual maintenance fee from investors, the gains you could potentially make from these funds far exceed what you could earn by trying to invest in the stock market on your own.
Market volatility always plays a role in any publicly traded equity. Successfully predicting the trajectory of a stock’s value over time is no easy task and can flummox even the most experienced hedge fund managers. Hedge funds are very much a high risk-high return investment where you could make or lose millions in minutes.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is an alternative method of financing that enables individuals to obtain loans directly from other individuals through online services.
Your main source of revenue through P2P lending is the interest you are owed on the loans you've given out.
Individuals seek P2P loans when they’ve been turned away from traditional banking routes. In most cases, this is because they have a lower credit score and a higher risk of default. To mitigate this risk, you can add a credit score baseline to weed out any loanees you’re uncomfortable loaning to.
Real assets are tangible assets with intrinsic value such as real estate, oil, racehorses, etc. Luxury items and collectibles such as art and vintage cars also fall into this category. As these investments are relatively unaffected by fluctuations in the public market, they can be used to balance your portfolio’s risk.
Few platforms that allow you to invest in real assets include: Fundrise and Diversyfund (for real estate), RallyRd (for cars), and Masterworks (for artwork).
The value of commodities is directly related to supply and demand. The higher the demand for a scarce commodity, the greater its value becomes in the market. However, numerous factors can dictate the rise or fall in the value of specific assets. Detailed knowledge of each asset is essential when trying to gauge price movements.
There’s no guarantee that the demand and value for your tangible assets will increase over time. Often this can be a hard figure to predict due to the numerous forces that affect the value of such a commodity.
For example, most tangible assets need to be desired, in good condition and low supply for them to appreciate. Trying to satisfy all three conditions can be difficult, resulting in a subpar return from your investment. Additionally, most tangible assets are illiquid - making it harder to cash in on them.
Historically, investing in alternative assets has been a time consuming, complicated and expensive process, often leaving you, the investor, confused and frustrated.
However, with a custodian like Alto, The Alternative IRA™ platform, it is now easier, faster and cheaper to use your IRA savings to invest in alternative assets. It is easier to manage your IRA funds with a custodian as it holds title to your assets for your benefit and is responsible for IRS reporting.
Alto lets you diversify your IRA investments portfolio by investing in startups, real estate, loans and more through partner investment platforms such as AngelList, Wefunder, Silicon Prairie, Groundfloor, Yieldstreet, Carofin, Forge Global and more.
You can also use your AltoIRA to invest even if you discover an opportunity outside of one of these Platform Partners.
What’s more? Alto is 100% online so you can get started right away.
That dream of retirement has persisted in America for several generations. But it could be over for many Americans because of a pending crisis: elder poverty. By the year 2035, nearly 20 million retirees could be in poverty. By 2050, that number could be 25 million, which rivals the elderly poverty numbers of the Great Depression. Gen-X and Millennials are the generations that will experience this firsthand. Why is this the case? Why is elder poverty on the rise?
What do institutional investors invest in? Alternative assets. They are a growing part of their diverse portfolio and are willing to take the risk.
Alto had its first Covid period board meeting last week. Like many companies, we considered our strategy in light of the new world order.Our strategy -- to provide affordable access to alternative investment opportunities for everyone – remains unchanged.