Portfolio management, at its most basic level, is the way that an investment portfolio is designed to align with the wants and needs of the investor. Portfolio management focuses on creating an investment strategy that factors in the goals set by the investor, the timeframe involved in the investment, and the risk tolerance of the investor.
This is done by picking a variety of kinds of investments like stocks, bonds, and other funds and monitoring and adjusting them as needed. There are two ways that portfolios are managed: actively and passively. Often, this will be decided by the risk tolerance that a specific investor has. With Regulation A+ and Regulation CF, the everyday investor can choose to invest in private companies as well, which significantly expand opportunities to be a part of new and exciting investments.
Active portfolio management is a hands-on approach that involves hiring portfolio managers who buy and sell stocks intending to outperform investment benchmarks. To try and outperform these benchmarks, portfolio managers have to take some risks in the investments they make. Some of these risks lead to big rewards, but as with all risks, they can also lead to large losses to the investor. Portfolio managers have a fiduciary responsibility to act in good faith regarding the investment, and also have fees attached to them based on the size of the portfolio and the return on investment of the portfolio.
Passive portfolio management is a mostly hands-off approach where the investor is trying to match investment benchmarks rather than trying to outperform them. Portfolios that are managed passively are frequently managed by the investor, so no fees are going to a portfolio manager. Instead of buying and selling specific stocks, passive portfolios are usually invested in exchange-traded funds, index funds, or mutual funds. This is a very low-risk approach that values slow and consistent growth over time, making it a great long-term investment strategy.
There are four pillars in portfolio management: asset allocation, diversification, rebalancing, and tax minimization. Asset allocation is the practice of spreading your investment into a variety of different assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Good asset allocation means that an investor takes on a smaller amount of risk because investments are protected due to the various places that assets are allocated. Diversification is about making sure that investors don’t put all of their eggs in one basket, because if that investment fails, there is a lot of money to be lost.
Rebalancing is done every so often as a way to hit the reset button on asset allocation. Over time, some investments might be doing very well, while others might be doing very poorly. To maintain a low-risk nature, it is important to sell both assets that are doing well and ones that are not. Over time, market fluctuations might cause a portfolio to get off course from the goals that were originally set, so rebalancing keeps the train going down the right track. Tax minimization focuses on trying to keep as much of the money that your investment made as possible. Capital gains get taxed differently depending on what investments they came from and where. Investments in exchange-traded funds or mutual funds, for example, get taxed at a much lower rate than investments in stocks. The goal is to keep as much money as possible!
Whether you’re saving for your first house or saving for your dream house, good portfolio management will result in investors being able to set, meet, and surpass their financial goals. The right portfolio management strategies will help to build a worthwhile return.