Multi-Asset Portfolio Dissertation

How The Role Of Property In A Multi-Asset Portfolio Has Been Affected By The Credit Crunch

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The existing literature argues property’s role in a multi-asset portfolio to be a means of risk reduction opposed to a method of returns. However, with the recent credit crunch having an adverse effect on the property market, this study will look into the affect it has had upon property’s role. To reach this finding, a combination of primary and secondary data will be used. The secondary data was obtained through a literature review and the primary data from interviews and a questionnaire. The findings were that the credit crunch has left the UK property in a position where it can offer investors opportunity to make capital gains and a secure income through rents. This has led to property’s role now being mainly focused on returns but still included as a means of risk reduction.

Multi-Asset Portfolio Dissertation
Multi-Asset Portfolio Dissertation

In a multi-asset portfolio an investor will likely include property to diversify and better their overall returns. However, with property values falling, it is likely investors were wishing to pull out of this asset class, cut their losses and venture elsewhere due to their risk adverse attitudes. A negative correlation when comparing property with stocks and bonds makes the later pair appears the way forward. Reason being; they should theoretically be outperforming the current property market rectifying diversification in a multi-asset portfolio. If investors make this decision and reduce the amount of real estate, levels of diversification will decrease, increasing specific risk. The chance of disposing their property is extremely slim however because of property’s liquidity being further extenuated by a market downturn. Property is evidently not offering the attributes investors’ want, yet they are unable to dispose of this unwanted asset. This puts investors in a very difficult situation of being left with a depreciating asset in their multi-asset portfolio. A possible solution to this would be identifying potential emerging markets, such as Latin America and India, which may offer the desired benefits currently unattainable in the UK. So with property still existing among UK fund managers’ portfolios the role it now offers must be determined. This dissertation will be based on three key assumptions namely:

  • Investors’ main reason for including property in a multi-asset portfolio is to reduce risk
  • Due to the poor performance of property in recent years, investors are reducing the property exposure in a portfolio and replacing it with more traditional methods such as bonds
  • Even with the recession being a global problem, certain investors feel there are still benefits from international property investment

The opening chapter of this dissertation has been produced to give readers an understanding of the overall study and what the upcoming chapters will be exploring. Chapter two will be a literature review analysing applicable company publications and academic literature, relating to the use of property within a multi-asset portfolio. It will clarify why various investors wish to include property, its characteristics, alternative assets to invest in and overseas investment. Each of these points will be tackled in their own independent section. The following chapter (three) will exhibit clearly the use of methodologies used throughout the dissertation to find out how the actions of investors has changed towards property during the credit crunch. Within the chapter it will also justify why these research methods were best suited for this field of research. The fourth chapter will bring together the results from the literature review, interviews and online questionnaire, clearly explaining what has been identified.

The final chapter of the dissertation shall be the conclusion. It will summarise the key findings answering the aims and objectives outlined at the start of the paper, identifying how the role of property within a multi-asset portfolio has been affected by the credit crunch. It will also make clear the limitations of the study and recommendations for similar studies in the future.

This research will help support many other studies that have been carried out over the years in regard to property’s role within a multi-asset portfolios. This paper will differ to previous studies, carried out by the like of Bryne and Lee, as it is primarily focusing on an economic downturn opposed to data over long periods with varying market conditions. There is a distinct lack of existing literature on this matter. By shedding light on this aspect, it will give an investor’s insight on how property is best used in a multi-asset portfolio during a struggling market.

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