Alternative Assets 101
A term we like to use here at iPlanGroup is “alternative asset class.” When we use it in front of our clients we often get blank stares, even in front of very seasoned investors! An alternative asset can be difficult to define: basically, it is not a direct, fixed or equity claim on the assets of an issuing identity. For instance, if you hold a secured bond, you have a claim to certain assets of the issuer. An alternative asset often derives its value from an underlying source- think gold, gas royalties or real estate. Alternative assets can be single, or they can be pooled, as are traditional asset classes such as mutual funds.
Traditionally, alternative assets have been popular with high net worth investors, but as global financial markets grow and the worth of alternative assets expands, many investors are turning to them to add diversity and value to their portfolios.