Alternative Investments: Diversifying Your Portfolio

Alternative investments

Do you know alternative investments are a big part of big investors’ plans? Out of these, private equity takes a big slice, 33% to be exact. This shows how important it is to spread out your money into things besides the usual stocks, bonds, and cash.

Looking at different ways to invest can lower risks and boost your gains. By adding things like hedge funds, private equity, and real estate, you get a mix that typical choices just can’t match. But, keep in mind, these choices aren’t as safe and have fewer rules. You need to really know the good and bad of these options.

Key Takeaways

  • Alternative investments make up a substantial part of institutional portfolios, with private equity alone comprising 33%.
  • Including alternative investment strategies, such as hedge funds, private equity, and real estate, can enhance returns and reduce risks in your investment portfolio.
  • These investments tend to be more complex and less regulated than traditional options.
  • A thorough understanding of the unique risks and benefits of alternative investments is essential for effective portfolio diversification.
  • Alternative investments offer low correlation with traditional assets, providing diversification benefits.

Introduction to Alternative Investments

Alternative investments are different from regular stocks and bonds. They include private equity, real estate, and even collectibles. These types of investments have become more popular over the years.

They offer unique features that might catch an investor’s eye. For example, they are different from traditional assets. They can offer a way to make a portfolio more varied. This can sometimes lead to more gains, even though it might carry more risk.

Hedge funds are one type of alternative. They can include many different strategies. Some focus on stocks, while others look at the market as a whole. Investing in a mix of hedge funds is what funds-of-hedge-funds do. This approach is useful for people who can’t invest a lot of money by themselves.

Another major alternative investment is private equity. This area includes buying companies and supporting new business ideas. It can also mean helping these companies grow in value before selling them. Private debt is similar but focuses on loans to these companies.

Investing in things like gold or farmland is a way to protect against rising prices. Real estate is a big part of these investments, too. You can invest directly in properties or through special funds. This market covers both buying properties and lending money for them.

Lastly, infrastructure investments are big projects like airports or power plants. They can even include things like schools. Buying into these can help provide for society’s needs while making money for investors.

Investment Type

Key Characteristics

Hedge Funds Equity hedge, event-driven, relative value, macro strategies
Private Equity Leveraged buyouts, venture capital, exit strategies
Private Debt Direct lending, mezzanine debt, venture debt
Natural Resources Commodities, farmland, timberland
Real Estate Residential, commercial, equity and debt transactions

Economies that are struggling often turn to alternative investments. Consider Latin America, where inflation is high. It shows how alternative investments can help to keep a portfolio strong in the face of risks.

The Importance of Diversifying Your Portfolio

Diversifying, or spreading out, your investments is crucial. It’s a strategy for reducing risk and making more money. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says it’s a must. By investing in different types and areas, you lower the risk of losing everything.

Why Diversification Matters

Diversification means not putting all your eggs in one basket. It spreads the risk and can mean more stable returns. Having many different investments is key. This should include 15 to 20 or even up to 30 stocks from various sectors. Index funds are good for this too, especially if you can’t own many stocks.

Complementary Investments

Combining different types of investments can lower risk. Mixing traditional assets with things like real estate or private equity helps. It spreads the risk around. This can protect you from losses that hit one sector hard. But remember, some risks are always there, like from the whole economy.

Diversification can also make investing fun. It lets you learn about new industries and feel more connected. YieldStreet makes it easy to start, with low fees and a $10,000 start. Adding foreign stocks and bonds can also help, as they often move differently than U.S. stocks.

Understanding Hedge Funds

Hedge funds are a unique form of investment, comparable to alternative funds. They employ many complex strategies aimed at active returns. These strategies involve a variety of financial tools, such as leverage and derivatives, to boost potential earnings. This makes them a key choice for seasoned investors.

What Are Hedge Funds?

Hedge funds bring together investors’ capital to pursue returns beyond the market’s normal levels. They use various strategies to achieve this. Because these funds are complex, they need their investors to have a certain level of income or assets. They also come with higher fees, following a common “2 and 20” structure. This includes a 2% management fee and a 20% performance fee.

Risks and Benefits

While hedge funds can offer significant returns, they also pose serious risks. These risks are linked to their use of leverage and speculative methods. This can lead to big wins or losses. On top of this, hedge funds face less regulation, have complex fee systems, and require investors to stay locked in for at least a year. This lack of quick liquidity is a factor to consider carefully before investing your money.

Investment Strategies

Hedge funds can adopt several investment strategies in a bid to optimize risk and reward. These include equity hedge, event-driven, and macro strategies, among others. Each strategy has its unique focus. For example, long-short equity strategies seek to profit from both rising and falling stock values. Conversely, market-neutral strategies strive to deliver returns despite market upheavals. By leveraging these methods, hedge funds aim to achieve performance that isn’t heavily linked to traditional market indices. This offers an essential diversification advantage for investors.



Annual Expense Ratio (2022 Avg.)


Mutual Funds / ETFs Traditional pooled investments focused on long-only positions in stocks, bonds, and cash. 0.37% Low
Hedge Funds Alternative investment vehicles using diverse strategies to achieve active returns. Higher “2 and 20” (2% management, 20% performance)

Exploring Private Equity

Private equity is a key part of the global investment choice, getting up to $24.5 trillion by 2028. It’s a way for investors to see big growth and innovation chances. This type of investment means putting money into non-public companies in different ways. Each way has its own level of risk and possible profit.

private equity strategies

Types of Private Equity Investments

Private equity investments fall into three main types: venture capital, growth equity, and buyouts. Venture capital looks at new businesses with lots of room to grow. It’s great for those who want to support new ideas but does involve high risk.
Growth equity means putting money into older companies that want to get bigger. This can help companies grow faster, leading to better returns for investors.
Buyouts are when investors buy a majority stake in companies. It often needs a lot of money upfront but ends up making more when companies improve their operations and profits.

Expected Returns

Private equity is popular because it can do better than other types of investments. This is thanks to a long-term approach and actively helping companies grow. But, it requires careful study and accepting more risk. Still, it can bring in big profits over time. Yet, it’s not easy to get out of these investments quickly.

“Around the globe, investors are increasingly turning to private equity as an essential strategy for achieving robust investment performance and capital appreciation. Embracing diverse private equity strategies, from venture capital to growth equity and buyouts, equips you to unlock significant value in private markets.”



Risk Level

Return Potential

Venture Capital Early-stage firm investments High High
Growth Equity Mature business expansion Medium Medium-High
Buyouts Acquiring controlling interests High High

Learning about the various private equity strategies can really help you make smarter investment choices. It puts you in a better position to benefit from good private equity returns. Plus, you’ll be more ready to deal with the challenges private equity can bring.

Venture Capital: Fueling Innovation

Venture capital is very important for new and growing companies, especially in tech and health fields. If you include this kind of investment in your portfolio, you get to be part of growing companies. Yet, these investments are risky and need you to stay invested for a long time.

Importance in a Portfolio

Venture capital lets you help fund new ideas and technologies, giving you a chance at big rewards. Startups can be risky, but the possible gains are high. It also helps protect your portfolio from market changes by adding variety.

Startups fail more often than not. Getting your money out can be hard and take a long time. Still, with careful planning, putting money into startups can pay off big. Equity crowdfunding makes it easier for more people to invest, with as little as $100.

“The global alternatives market is projected to reach $24.5 trillion by 2028.”

VCs help startups grow by providing guidance and multiple rounds of funding. By being smart about it, you can join in on new and exciting projects while also aiming for great financial rewards.

Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing is crucial for a varied investment mix. It offers chances in residential and commercial sectors. Investors can own properties directly, via funds, or in real estate trusts.

Through these methods, they might increase their income. This can happen through rent, property value changes, and adding diversification to their investment mix.

real estate funds

Types of Real Estate Investments

Various opportunities exist in property investments:

  • Direct Ownership: This choice lets investors buy homes or buildings. They can earn money from rent and if the property becomes more valuable.
  • Real Estate Funds: A group of investors join their money to buy and manage properties. This provides a steady income with good risk management.
  • REITs: These investment trusts deal with income properties. They offer easy selling compared to directly owning property.
  • Partnerships: Investors can team up in real estate ownership. They share profits and risks, often with low individual effort.
  • Private Lending: Some investors choose to lend money for property buys. They get short-term, high-interest earnings on loans backed by property.

Market Trends

Knowing real estate market trends is key for making smart investments. Several big factors affect the real estate market:

  • Economic Indicators: The economy’s health affects property investments. Things like GDP growth and job rates are crucial.
  • Interest Rates: Low interest rates are good for real estate by making loans cheaper. Yet, high rates can decrease property demand.
  • Demographic Shifts: How the population moves and where people live changes property values. This affects both local and bigger trends.
  • Impact Investing: This type of investing looks for both money and good social and environmental effects. It makes up a good part of the investing world today, worth billions.

Staying informed on real estate market trends and real estate cycles is key. It helps investors maximize their gains and manage risks in property investments.

Type of Investment



Direct Ownership
  • High control
  • Potential rental income
  • Property appreciation
  • High entry costs
  • Maintenance responsibilities
  • Market volatility
Real Estate Funds
  • Risk diversification
  • Passive income
  • Professional management
  • Management fees
  • Limited control
  • High liquidity
  • Diverse property portfolios
  • Dividends
  • Market risk
  • Management fees
  • Shared risks
  • Combined expertise
  • Profit sharing
  • Potential conflicts
Private Lending
  • Higher yields
  • Short-term returns
  • Credit risk
  • Potential defaults

Investing in Commodities

Investing in commodities means putting money into natural resources like farm goods, energy, and metals. It helps protect against inflation and is different from stocks. This makes it good for spreading out risk in your investments.

Types of Commodities

You have many options for commodity investments. They include:

  • Farm goods like wheat, corn, and soy.
  • Energies such as oil, gas, and ethanol.
  • Metals including gold, silver, and platinum.
  • Metals for industry, like copper and zinc.

Each commodity has its own chances and dangers. You need to study and understand them well before you invest.

Market Volatility

Commodity markets are highly changeable, affected by many factors. These include how much is available, world events, and changes in money value. In 2021-2022, the jump in energy prices showed how changeable these markets can be. Big price changes can lead to big wins or big losses. So, it’s crucial to look closely and be ready for risks.

Usually, how commodities perform isn’t like the stock or bond markets. This can help make your investment mix less likely to swing a lot. But remember, having a variety of investments might not always mean you won’t lose in a downturn.

Key Considerations

When you think about investing in commodities, there are several ways to do it:

  1. Getting the actual goods is the most straightforward way.
  2. Futures contracts show the price clearly but are risky and not for everyone.
  3. You can also buy shares in companies that deal with commodities.
  4. For an easier start, there are mutual funds and other types of funds.
  5. Then, there are hedge funds or private options. These are for pros and need a lot of money and know-how.

Commodities can sometimes bring good returns, but they’re often more about quick gains. They should be a small part of your investment plan. Knowing key terms and how the market works is vital for success.

The Rise of Cryptocurrency Investments

Cryptocurrencies have become a top choice for investing over the past decade. They are known for being unique. Digital assets, built on blockchain, work without a central authority. This makes transactions clear and safe.

Large companies like Google and Microsoft are getting more involved. So are banks like JP Morgan. This involvement boosts the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, governments are making rules to make investing safer.

cryptocurrency market

Investing in cryptocurrencies has many benefits. It’s easy to turn them into cash. This ease of use is a big plus, especially during tough economic times. Cryptocurrencies often do better than other investments during crises.

By May 2023, experts think India will have 15-20 million cryptocurrency investors with over $5.37 billion in cryptos.

Adding cryptocurrencies to your investments can lower risk. Putting a bit of your money in Bitcoin can make your overall investment safer. Cryptocurrencies offer a good mix of profit and the ability to easily turn them into cash.

The cryptocurrency market is growing quickly. Assets turned into digital tokens have seen a huge rise in value. Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are now worth a lot more.

Top Coins

Value in ₹

Percentage Change

Solana 12,733 6.32%
Bitcoin 5,377,732 4.28%
Ethereum 247,927 2.61%
BNB 48,352 2.14%
Tether 83 -0.22%

Cryptocurrencies are becoming a key part of diverse investment strategies. They offer a chance for high returns and bring innovation. For those seeking new opportunities, the cryptocurrency world is full of promise.

Alternative investments: A Diverse Strategy

Alternative investments have become very popular lately. They offer more ways to diversify your investments. These include hedge funds, private equity, real estate, natural resources, and more. For example, hedge funds use various strategies to help you spread your investments in a unique way.

Private capital is a big part of alternative assets. It includes private equity and private debt. With strategies like leveraged buyouts and direct lending, they can spice up your portfolio. These types of investments often give competitive returns.

Investments in natural resources cover things like commodities and land. They offer different ways to earn money. For example, investing in commodities means you make money from price changes. Buying land can give you income from things like timber or crops.

Real estate investments let you put money in homes or businesses. You can invest in the ownership or lending sides. Infrastructure projects, like airports, fall under this category too. These projects are either new (“greenfield”) or in existing (“brownfield”) places.

Alternative Investment

Asset Types

Example Strategies

Hedge Funds Equity Hedge, Event-Driven, Macro Long-Short Equity, Market Neutral
Private Capital Private Equity, Private Debt Leveraged Buyouts, Venture Capital
Natural Resources Commodities, Farmland, Timberland Futures, Harvest-Based Income
Real Estate Residential, Commercial REITs, Direct Property Investment
Infrastructure Airports, Power Plants Greenfield, Brownfield Investments

When looking at these investments, it’s important to check the risks and fees. This includes looking at returns before and after fees. Diversifying across these assets helps your portfolio perform better.


In conclusion, adding alternative investments to your portfolio can really boost how spread out your investments are. This means you can manage risks better. By investing in real estate, hedge funds, private equity, and commodities, you get to aim for chances that pure stock, bond, and money investments might miss.

Such investments offer new and different ways to invest. They need specialized knowledge and don’t always do what traditional investments do. They also might cost more and have complex rules. However, they could give you a chance for more returns with risks that fit well with your goals. So, you can aim for stronger, more varied investments with these assets.

It’s vital to do your homework and keep up with the latest trends and what each asset offers. This is true whether you’re looking into building projects, the changing world of digital money, or the steady housing market. Being well-informed and using a wide variety of options will guide you to make smarter choices. Using these unique investments doesn’t just make your portfolio more varied. It could also mean better returns and a solid financial future.

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About the author

Nathan Tarrant

Nathan has worked in financial services, marketing, and strategic business growth for over 30 years. He was the founder and COO of a Queens award-winning financial services company based in the UK, and a capital investment company in Virginia USA..

He operated as a financial & alternative investment advisor to delegates of the UN, World Health Organization, and senior managers of Fortune 500 companies in Geneva, Switzerland, after the 2008 financial crash.

As an avid investor, especially in alternative investments, he runs this blog, sharing his growing experience and views on alternative investments. You can see Nathan's full profile at his personal website
You can read his full bio on our about us page

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