Diversification – The Only Free Lunch in Town

Diversification – The Only Free Lunch in Town

Investing has long been recognised as a key strategy for building wealth and achieving long-term financial goals. However, the world of investing can be complex and unpredictable, with markets fluctuating and economic conditions changing rapidly. This is where the power of diversification comes into play. The Nobel Prize laureate, economist Harry Markowitz, reputedly said, “Diversification is the only free lunch” in investing. This has rippled through the investment world and has been incorporated into many investment approaches for financial planners.

What is Diversification?

Diversification is a technique that involves spreading your investment capital across various sectors. The goal is to reduce the overall risk of your investment portfolio by avoiding over-concentration in any single investment. By diversifying, you can potentially mitigate the impact of poor performance in one investment with better performance in another, leading to a more consistent overall return. Diversification is not aimed at raising returns but at lowering the variance across possible returns.

  • Is it a Common Mistake when Investing, to not diversify?

Private Capital believes diversifying can have a positive impact on the value of your portfolio. Not diversifying one’s investment portfolio is a common mistake that many investors often overlook, and it can have significant implications. When individuals fail to diversify, or they concentrate their investments on a single asset or a few select assets, they leave themselves vulnerable to the inherent risks associated with those specific investments. Market volatility, industry downturns, or unforeseen events can have a disproportionately negative impact on a concentrated portfolio, potentially leading to poor outcomes.

Consider entrepreneurs as an example. Entrepreneurs who typically invest back into their own companies may run the danger of losing money if their firm fails or if they do not diversify their holdings. If the business does well, they may well have lost out on ‘Unicorn’ growth.

Think about the thousands of business owners who chose not to diversify. There are far more failure stories for every success story you might hear of.

  • The misconception of diversification

One common misconception about diversification is that it can be achieved by working with multiple advisors or investing in multiple funds instead of a single world equity fund. While it may seem logical to spread investments across different advisors or funds, this approach does not necessarily lead to true diversification. It can introduce its own set of challenges. Working with multiple advisors can result in conflicting strategies, lack of coordination, and potential overlap in investments, which can undermine the intended diversification benefits.

Similarly, investing in multiple funds without careful consideration can lead to unintended concentration risks and overlapping holdings. True diversification involves a thoughtful approach that considers a mix of asset classes, industries, and geographic regions, rather than simply spreading investments across multiple advisors or funds. It’s important to focus on the overall portfolio composition and ensure that it aligns with your risk tolerance and investment goals.

  • The Benefits of Diversification

The benefits of diversification in investing are numerous. First and foremost, it helps to minimise risk. No investment is without risk, but by spreading your investments across different asset classes, you can avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. If one investment performs poorly, the impact on your overall portfolio will be minimised.

Diversification also helps to smooth out the volatility of your portfolio. Different asset classes have different risk-return profiles, and by including a mix of assets, you can potentially reduce the overall volatility of your investments. This can provide a more stable and predictable investment experience, which is especially important for those with long-term goals.

At Private Capital, we use models which contain over 25,000 positions with equity and fixed-income proportionate to each individual’s risk profile.

  • How can I diversify?

Diversification involves spreading investments across different asset classes, industries/sectors, and geographic regions. By including a mix of stocks, bonds, commodities, and real estate in your portfolio, you can potentially achieve a better risk-adjusted return. Additionally, diversifying within asset classes by investing in different industries reduces the risk associated with sector-specific downturns. Furthermore, global diversification across various geographic regions helps mitigate the risk of economic or political conditions in any single country or region. By diversifying, you can take advantage of growth opportunities while reducing the impact of underperformance.


What can I do to stay diversified?

  • The Role of Financial Planning and Advisors

Working with a trusted financial advisor is crucial for developing a diversified investment strategy that aligns with your risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. They provide valuable. insights on asset allocation and help navigate the complexities of diversification.

To understand more about how much an advisor like Private Capital can add value, contact us to learn how we provide behavioural coaching to our clients.

  • The Power of Passive Investing

Passive investing through index funds or ETFs offers a cost-effective way to achieve diversification. It provides broad market exposure, allowing you to benefit from overall market performance and simplifying portfolio management.

Private Capital goes beyond passive investing and our philosophy is an evidence-based approach to investing. To learn more about how we invest, click here.

  • Staying the Course and Trusting the Market

Maintaining a long-term perspective and avoiding knee-jerk reactions to market fluctuations is essential. Diversification helps weather volatility, enabling participation in long-term market growth and capitalising on compounding returns.

  • Monitoring and Rebalancing Your Portfolio

Diversification requires ongoing monitoring and rebalancing. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your portfolio ensures it stays aligned with your goals and risk tolerance. Financial advisors can guide this process, adding value by maintaining a well-diversified and disciplined approach to investing.

Remember, investing involves risk, and past performance is not indicative of future results. It’s essential to carefully consider your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment decisions.