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Risk mitigation through diversification

Risks are a constant in the world of investment. They cannot be eliminated. But, there are strategies to minimise them.

How to reduce investment risk? Investment risk can be reduced by risk mitigation strategies to ensure that the end goal is not adversely affected.

How to manage investment risk? Risk management can be adequately managed through a fundamental component of in investment approach. It is needed to improve investment outcomes. The right strategy keeps losses within an acceptable boundary during hard times and helps to cover up losses during good times. Diversification is one such time-tested risk mitigation strategy. Here are some tips to diversify investment risk.

What is diversification?

Diversification is a means of managing an investment portfolio. Through this one can invest in a wide range of financial assets. So, even if a certain set of your assets do not perform well, it can outweigh the declining performance of the rest of your portfolio. Diversifying balances out and reduces the overall risk associated with a portfolio. Every asset performs differently based on the prevailing market conditions. Diversification is all about investing in various non-related assets to balance out the risk exposure. Non-related assets are assets like equity, bond and gold, whose performance does not depend on each other.

Some assets are also co-related to each other’s performance. For example, equity markets tend to slump during an economic downturn. During such times, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tries to stimulate economic growth by lowering interest rates. As interest rates start to fluctuate, co-related assets such as bond prices also tend to go up and down. Thus, equity and debt are inversely correlated to some extent.

In short, diversification simply refers to ’don’t put all your eggs in one basket’. Instead of investing in a single investment avenue, you can invest in multiple financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate etc. Moreover, you can also choose to diverse the investments within the same asset class.

For example, you can invest Rs. 10 in different shares of varied sizes, industries and sectors. In doing so, you are at a minimal risk of loss in the event of a fickle market environment.

Thus, a well-diversified portfolio helps you in the long run by spreading out the risk of an asset and minimising overall investment risk, thus helping you to pursue your investment objective. Here it is important to note that though diversification effectively reduces overall risk, it cannot completely erase it.

*The table suggests that the average risk of the portfolio reduces with the rise in the portfolio size.

How to diversify investment risk?

  • Spread your investments across different assets. The risk and return profile of each asset class could vary. Equities are riskier than bonds. Hence, choosing a proper mix of less, moderate and high risk investment avenues can also help in diversifying as per your risk profile and time frame to achieve investment objective. Every asset class responds differently to economic changes. Therefore, figuring out the right mix based on your investment plan is the key to diversification.
  • Consider different assets within the same asset category. To build a diversified equity portfolio, buy 15-20 stocks across varied sectors. Opt for negatively correlated stocks. For example, you can choose to invest in shell stock (oil production companies) and airlines (oil consumer) as the price of these company shares are negatively correlated. Negatively correlated stocks perform better if the other one drops, i.e. contra performance. Thus, diversification helps in averaging out the returns so that if one asset class does not perform well in a timeframe, the other one would make up for it.
  • Remember diversification is an ongoing process. You need to constantly review your portfolio and rework on your diversification strategy based on your current need and situation. A disciplined approach can help you survive the ups and downs of a volatile market.
  • Take expert help. Seeking help of financial experts can help you in building a well-diversified portfolio. Financial experts can help in designing a diversification strategy that can effectively reduce risks and maximize your potential returns in the long run.

In a nutshell, diversifying your investment among various asset classes protects you against significant losses by mitigating risks. Follow an asset allocation strategy as per your risk tolerance, investment goals and financial circumstances. Diversify among and within various asset classes to reduce risks and achieve your financial goals. Get guidance from a financial professional on asset allocation and diversification for your portfolio. IndiaNivesh expertise in the field can help you mitigate the risk through diversification to achieve your financial goals.