Alternative Investments Essay

Executive Summary:

The intent of the study is to make an in-depth probe. survey and analysis on alternate investings. From the assorted alternate investings. our squad of analyst chose trade goods. variable rentes and fudge financess as our topic of involvement for the survey. Each fiscal merchandise has its ain purposes as to provide to the different investing ends to run into the demands of investors. Thus. merely by looking at the footing on expensiveness and tax-efficiency. and so from choosing the better one is unwise. We have to look at the overall image and sing other indispensable factors like hazards. liquidness. plus allotment which are every bit of import. Therefore. our footing of rating comprises of assorted of import factors so as to do a robust analysis.

First. trade goods are a extremely demanded investing which is traded utilizing options and hereafters contract. . Furthermore. they are besides an component of variegation that investors can take down their exposure to market volatility. Despite its high volatility in its monetary values. it managed to derive a higher return as compared to stocks and bonds. As trade goods have a low correlativity with bonds and stocks. it is able to cut down unsystematic hazard through variegation. Its high correlativity with rate of rising prices therefore looks favourable in times of crisis and these enable investors to command its plus allotment determination.

By utilizing the 60/40 revenue enhancement intervention. it has shown that it is so an efficient method in take downing revenue enhancements. Its high trade good market liquidness therefore seem assuring to investors as it correlates good with it market merchandising particularly in maize. gold and cherished metals hereafters. Furthermore. it is advisable for them to apportion 5 % to 10 % of their investing to trade goods so as for better variegation to extinguish unsystematic hazard. As it has no or few replacement. it is advised that investor should take note of any unexpected hazard involved.

Variable rentes on the other manus are tax-deferred with a backdown day of the month merely after the age of 59? . The public presentation of its sub-accounts affects many facet of variable rente. This is so as the public presentation of varied underlying investings in the sub-account consequences in non-uniform distribution in its returns. Furthermore. variable rente is comparatively volatile as it returns be given to varies as conformity to the returns of its implicit in investings. Therefore. granted with a pick of an plus for the implicit in investings. investors will take an implicit in plus that is non-correlated to their portfolio retentions. Variable rente besides incurs sensible costs.

However. the chief benefit of puting in variable rente is that it is extremely tax-efficient as it is a tax-deferred vehicle. This reduces the revenue enhancement load on investors and at the same clip creates an chance for them to put in tax-inefficient vehicles before the backdown day of the month as no revenue enhancement is imposed before the day of the month. The downside to puting in variable rente is that it has liquidness hazards. However. it can cut down unsystematic hazard significantly due to the investing options for its sub-account and this of import facet of it besides provide investors with the ability to apportion their assets.

The primary purpose of most hedge financess is to cut down volatility and hazard while trying to continue capital and present positive returns under all market conditions which brings investors an indispensable option to put in hedge fund. With a low standard divergence of about nothing. hedge financess are extremely of an advantage as it does non fluctuate widely within periods. However. volatility is non the lone index of hazard impacting the fund. For hedge financess. the skewness fluctuations are non unvarying across manners.

While hedge financess offer possible for returns that are non extremely correlated with other markets. their alone belongingss would besides intend that they involve a high grade of hazard. Its fees are regular therefore investors should follow consequently. Hedge Funds exploit different ways to minimise capital additions and income revenue enhancements for investors. With the Tax Exemption for Singapore Resident Funds. it places investing in Hedge Fund at an advantage. Puting their trust in the fund manager’s ability to run into the fund’s aims. it is so recommended for investors to take the right fund director to pull off their investings.

From the in-depth analysis on alternate investings. we realized that there is no a perfect merchandise to entirely put in. Each alternate assets has its advantages and disadvantages. therefore we have to put in assortments of plus categories but diversified it. There is besides the demand for proper plus allotment direction and the usage of investing schemes.


The continual hunt to harvest higher risk-adjusted returns has led to a figure of extremely alternate assets to be considered for fiscal investing intent. Therefore. the growing of alternate investings market is outstanding. Harmonizing to the 2010 Alternative Investment Survey of U. S Institutions and Financial Advisor. 36 % of the institutional investors that are surveyed have $ 1-10 Billion in plus under direction and 29 % with greater than $ 11 Billion in plus under direction. In this study. our squad of fiscal analyst has chose to make an in deepness analysis on trade goods. variable rentes and hedge financess. Through this study. we are traveling analyze the aforesaid alternate assets through assorted of import factors viz. its returns. hazards. costs. other competitory advantages and disadvantages. At the terminal of this study. we hope to accomplish an in-depth rating on the attraction of each topic of involvement and do sound recommendations.

Introduction to Commodities:

Commodities are natural stuffs used for bring forthing secondary goods which are transacted in volumes and classified into energy. metals. grains and farm animal. Manufacturers in the trade goods market purchase trade goods needed on a “spot market” while speculators purchase and sell trade goods utilizing options and hereafters contracts. Commodity markets are existent demand and supply markets. Therefore with the increasing universe population. there is now higher demand than supply for trade goods. doing trade goods a feasible investing for both the present and the hereafter.

Expected Tax returns:

During rising prices. trade goods entire returns will surge. When doing an investing in trade goods one can anticipate returns that are capital return. Commodities have been supplying its investors with comparatively high returns. exhibiting negative correlativities with equities and bonds every bit good as hedge against hazards. Based on the Commodity Price Index for the past twelvemonth. expected returns were at 0. 85 % . volatility were at 0. 0641 which is considered to be comparatively low. while the return-risk was 0. 1319.


Volatility in commodities’ monetary values fluctuated late with their highs and depressions due to the “interference” of the trade goods market like political differences and natural catastrophes. In 1973 to 2007. based on the S & A ; P 500 Index. MSCI Index and Lehman Brothers Bond Index. it has an annualized return of 10. 9 % and 24. 5 % one-year criterion divergence. volatility. Although stocks performed better than trade good. commodities’ volatility was in the peak compares among stocks and bonds. Historical hazard return on trade good had remained positive of approximately 5 % during the old ages. T-statistic. sketching the degree of assurance that the hazard return is different from 0 shows a figure of 2. 84 which shows that it is higher than stocks and bonds.

Distribution of returns [ Refer to Appendix ] :

From the bell-shaped curve. we can surmise that the distribution of returns on trade goods is widely distributed and tends to be near to a normal distribution as investors are concern about their existent returns as they want to surpass rising prices. As compared to stocks and bonds. the returns in trade goods are positively skewed. Since returns for trade goods investing is right skewed. it means that the sum of returns will be higher than stocks and bonds which are negatively skewed. Returns distribution is really broad as the returns show a greater than 3 extra kurtosis. However. this besides means higher hazard for investors due to the broad distribution of returns.

Correlation with other plus categories: [ Refer to Appendix ] :

From the tabular array. it shows that Standard & A ; Poor’s 500 and the company are closely related in contrast to the other plus categories. GSCI and 1 month T-bills with a correlativity value of -0. 003. proves that they are independent of one another. It is revealed that trade goods hereafters are negatively correlated to returns of stocks and bonds with coefficients of -0. 42 and -0. 25 severally. Therefore. by apportioning financess to those assets of negative correlativities. it provides the benefits of variegation when confronting a stand-alone hazard plus category.

Fees. Trading and other disbursals:

There are many fees and disbursals that are implied in trade goods merchandising. When trading trade goods. investors incur direction and securities firm fees. service revenue enhancement and a possible loss of investings. When a hereafters contract is purchased. an initial down payment on the entire hereafters monetary value ( initial border ) is to be made. The border demand is fundamentally a little per centum of the entire buying monetary value for a trade good. This border demand normally adds up to be less than 10 % .


Commodity market liquidness frequently correlates good with trade good market trading net incomes. Investors can profit in high trade good market liquidness. It is easier to come in and go out trades. With the high trading volume and liquidness. the statistics of prognostic ability of clip esteemed tools like Candlestick forms formulates tend to be more precise. Commodities that offer good trade good market liquidness include trading in Corn and Gold hereafters. Each of these trades at high volume and high liquidness. However. they are driven by different factors. Gold and other cherished metals perform good when investors are disquieted about rising prices or when there is the menace of economic or political break. Corn is determined by supply and demand.


The location of where the trade good is produced is non an of import factor that an investor should see as there are similar merchandises that will be sold irrespective of where it has been produced. Hence investors’ consideration of location is non required when doing an investing.

Tax Efficiency:

In trade goods. it is rather tax-efficient as they follow the 60/40 revenue enhancement intervention whereby 60 % of the addition is taxed as long-run additions and 40 % are taxed as short-run additions. Long-run capital additions are capped at 15 % which is favourable for high income investors. intending that 60 % of additions will be taxed at 15 % while 40 % of additions will be taxed at 35 % which both peers to 23 % for trade goods. Therefore. it will assist investor to salvage money in revenue enhancement.

Ability to extinguish or significantly cut down unsystematic hazard: Investing in trade goods does non cut down unsystematic hazards. First natural catastrophe and bad conditions may impact a assorted types of trade goods. Another hazard is geopolitical hazard. This hazard occur as world’s natural resources are located in assorted continents and the legal power over these trade goods lies with autonomous authoritiess. international companies. and many other entities. Thus. international dissensions over the control of natural resources are rather platitude. Negotiations on the extractions are pretty tense as dissensions may easy lift over licensing understandings. revenue enhancement constructions. environmental concerns. employment of autochthonal workers. entree to engineering. and many other complex issues.

Ability to command the plus allotment determination:

Investors are able to command plus allotment determination in trade goods. This is so as trade goods are non professionally managed unless you have the purposes to. Thus. investors who wish for professional money directors who specialize in trade good trading to manage their investings. they may turn to ETFs or common financess. With that. trade goods bargainers are able to free determinations on the allotment of their assets. It is advisable for investor to apportion more of his investings to other types of investings and allocates 5 to 10 % of his investings into trade goods due to its volatility.

Substitute? Any options that achieve the same aim in a more efficient –less expensive and/or more revenue enhancement efficient- mode: Commodities have few/no replacements as they are generic goods that we utilize in our mundane lives. It’s suggested for any investor to take into consideration the unexpected hazard such as natural catastrophes and bad conditions. If they allocate most of their investing in trade goods and when an inauspicious event work stoppages. they would be caught in a hard place. Commodities have the best advantage against rising prices. During rising prices. monetary values of trade goods have the inclination to lift. Therefore. as an investor in trade goods. you would be able to derive much from the increase of value.

Introduction to Variable Annuities:

Variable rentes are tax-deferred investing vehicle that comes with a minimum insurance contract so they can measure up for their tax-deferred position. Variable rentes can be immediate or deferred. Once you reach 59? . you can get down retreating the financess without any punishment.

Expected Tax returns:

Variable rente has no expected rate of returns as its return is based on the market place public presentation. Its fees will be subtracted from the returns. By diversifying assets. a portfolio may hold a higher return potency with a lower degree of hazard than the portfolio’s constituents would accomplish individually.

The standard divergence indicates the inclination of the returns to lift or fall drastically in a short period of clip. Since the return on investing in a variable rente is straight tied to the public presentation of sub-accounts that make up investors’ rente. the fund would exhibit a high criterion divergence as each year’s return of the fund may differ from its average return. This in bend makes variable rente riskier as it is volatile.

Distribution of returns:

Tax return on investing in a variable rente is straight tied to the public presentation of sub-accounts that make up investor’s rente. If the underlying investings are in stock and bonds for illustration. there’s possible for a greater return. However. this will be coupled with a higher hazard of loss including loss of capital which involves the support options. It means that payments and net incomes are non guaranteed. Thus the lopsidedness fluctuations are non unvarying as returns varies depending on the instruments it consists of in the implicit in investings.

Correlation with other plus categories:

Variable rente offers a scope of investings options for the sub-accounts. Investors will hold to take a specific one of his involvement. Therefore. entitle with the benefit of make up one’s minding the underlying investings. it enable investors to pick an plus that is low correlated or non-correlated with other assets categories of his portfolio. Therefore. variable rente offers balance and variegation to investors.


First. there is the surrender charge. It is a type of gross revenues charge that will be issued to the client when they withdraw money from a variable rente within a certain period ( which may change from six to ten old ages ) after the purchase. It is to pay the fiscal professional as a committee for the sale of the variable rente. It decreases bit by bit over the resignation period. normally 1 % less each twelvemonth. Next. it is the mortality and disbursal hazard charge which is 1. 25 % per twelvemonth. It compensates insurance company for insurance hazards. Its net income is to pay the insurer’s initial cost of sale of the variable rente. Next up is the administrative fees which are charges for record-keeping and other administrative disbursals and is charged 0. 15 % .

Trading and other disbursals:

Underliing Fund Expenses are fees that will be charged indirectly and they are imposed by common financess which are the implicit in investing options in the variable rente. Fees and Charges for other characteristics are other assorted fees charged in particular characteristics offered in some variable rentes. Such characteristics include stepped-up decease benefit and long-run attention insurance.


Variable rente has liquidness hazard in it whereby the returns from the variable rente may be unavailable at the clip of backdown or it will be available but at a significantly lowered value. These are attributable to two factors. First. because rentes are designed as retirement vehicles. acquiring out early can intend taking a loss. Many variable rentes assess resignation charges for backdowns within a specified period. which can be every bit long as 6 to 8 old ages. Furthermore. any backdowns before an investor reaches the age of 59 ‘/2 are capable to a 10 % revenue enhancement punishment by the IRS ( Internal Revenue Service ) in add-on to any addition being taxed as ordinary income. Second. if the holder is in a demand for hard currency and must neutralize his variable rente. there is a possibility that on the day of the month of settlement. its history balance is lower than what it was antecedently merely due to market fluctuations.


Annuities are a platitude in the current universe but really it existed manner back during the Roman times. It was so introduced in Europe and the United Kingdom. It made its grade in America in eighteenth century but was merely to the full cognizant of in the 1930s where the Great Depression caused Americans to “save for a showery day” . Variable rentes were foremost created in America in 1952. Today. variable rentes is popular than of all time with gross revenues estimated to be USD40. 2 billion and are offered in many states due to its pertinence for retirement intents. Singapore is non excluded in the variable rentes market every bit good. Manulife Singapore launched the first variable rente. Secure Retirement Plus ( US $ ) . in 2007 and subsequently introduced Secure Retirement Plus ( S $ ) in 2008.

Tax Efficiency:

Variable Annuities are tax-deferred. It can assist investors salvage more while cut downing their overall revenue enhancement load. This provides investors with good chance to put in tax-inefficient vehicles such as bonds and types of equities. However. there will be a nonexempt sum of 10 % IRS punishment with backdown before making the age of 59? old ages. This means that investors pay no revenue enhancements on the income and investing additions from their rente until the backdown day of the month. They may besides reassign their money from one investing option to another within a variable rente without paying revenue enhancement at the clip of the transportation. At their backdown of variable rente. they will be taxed on the net incomes at ordinary income revenue enhancement rates instead than lower capital additions rates.

Ability to extinguish or significantly cut down unsystematic hazard: By diversifying. puting in variable rente does cut down unsystematic hazard. Investors are able to do payment purchase and apportion it to assorted plus categories such as small-company stocks. international authorities bonds and fixed rentes. Unsystematic hazard lessenings as the figure of stocks in a portfolio increases. It could assist to protect the investors against sustained losingss in a individual stock or sector of the market.

Ability to command the plus allotment determination:

Variable Annuity has an accretion stage whereby the investor makes purchase payments in which they can apportion it to a figure of investing options. Furthermore. it is a flexible investing that allows investors to travel their money into more stable histories such as fixed history to continue their additions. It besides allows investors to hold drama in the strong stock market.

Substitute? Any options that achieve the same aim in a more efficient –less expensive and/or more revenue enhancement efficient- mode: Exchange Traded Note ( ETN ) is an alternate that can accomplish the same aim of a variable rente in a less expensive and more revenue enhancement efficient manner. A variable rente can be up to 4 % a twelvemonth in its fees. while ETN merely charge 1 % fees. Both ETN and variable rentes are revenue enhancement efficient and there is no negative revenue enhancement effect till the ETN is sold. However. while an rente is passed through decease to its donees. its full addition will be taxed. The ETN under the current estate revenue enhancement Torahs. will be having a measure up in footing. this makes it more revenue enhancement efficient than the variable rente. However. investors of ETN have to presume recognition hazard as it is an unbarred debt. Therefore. we have to look at other every bit of import factors before make up one’s minding the better alternate as merely utilizing cost-effectiveness and tax-efficiency does non compare to a robust rating.

Introduction to Hedge Fund:

Hedge fund is a fund that can take both long and short places through the usage of arbitrage. purchasing and selling undervalued securities. trading options or bonds. and puting in any chance in any market where it foresees impressive additions at reduced hazard. Its schemes vary tremendously particularly today with volatility and expectancy of corrections in overheated stock markets whereby many hedge against downswings in the markets. Main purpose of most hedge financess is to cut down volatility and hazard while seeking to continue capital and present positive returns under all market conditions.

Expected Tax returns:

Most hedge funds’ end is to gain a positive return despite how the overall stock market is executing. It is refer to as an absolute return. Absolute return additions and losingss of a hedge fund can be measured comparative merely to the assets in the fund itself and investors do non compare returns to market benchmarks. With the absolute return end. hedge fund directors frequently use aggressive investing techniques like short merchandising and leverage.


Standard divergence reports a fund’s volatility which indicates the inclination of the returns to lift or fall drastically in a short period of clip. It measures this hazard by mensurating the grade to which the fund fluctuates in relation to its average return. the mean return of a fund over a period of clip. Since hedge fund seeks absolute returns independent of market motions ; the standard divergence for this fund would so be zero as the fund’s return does non differ within periods. Hence it shows that hedge financess are extremely at an advantage since the fund with the lower standard divergence would be more optimum as it is maximising the return received for the sum of hazard acquired.

Distribution of Tax returns:

By cognizing which manner informations is skewed. one can break gauge whether a information hereafter point will be more or less than the mean. For hedge financess. the skewness fluctuations are non unvarying across manners. For case. when the figure of financess additions. the skewness beads systemically and is negative for Fixed Income Arbitrage. Convertible Arbitrage and Event Driven Strategies while it increases somewhat. The Kurtosis tends to be concentrated in the -0. 5 to +0. 5 scope. Changes in kurtosis tend to less predictable and differ widely over clip and across investing manners. However. variegation within some hedge fund schemes may look extremely attractive in mean or discrepancy footings. but this is much less so when lopsidedness and kurtosis are taken into history as measuring hedge financess based on return and volatility standards possibly misdirecting because of the possible underestimate of return volatilities.

Correlation with other plus categories:

Correlation is interlinked with variegation. Investors aim for a sound portfolio which is accomplishable through using variegation. However. traditional assets classes like bonds and stocks are progressively linked. Hedge financess which public presentations frequently extremely dependent on the qualities of single investing determinations or schemes. as opposed to being extremely correlated to an overall market. diversify hazard therefore conveying approximately high returns. Alternatively of accomplishing returns from market activities. hedge financess use alone puting schemes to work market inefficiencies that the markets have non perceived. This farther intensified variegation which put them at a better position than traditional plus categories.


Hedge fund consists of 3 sorts of fees. Gross saless Charge. It is a erstwhile charge. by and large 5 % and it’s the front-end burden or committee that is charged on the investing sum. Management fee. It varies around 2 % and it is charged on an one-year footing and imputed into the Net Asset Value of the fund. Performance fee. It varies around 10-20 % above the benchmark and it is charged on an one-year footing and imputed into the Net Asset Value of the fund. The benchmark can be merely the zero return line or a benchmark like the London Interbank Offered Rate. Performance fees are charged on a high H2O grade which means investors are merely charged for extra returns with mention to the old high. If investing bead in value. the director must convey it back above the old greatest value before they can have public presentation fees.

Trading and other disbursals:

Apart from the above fees. investors besides need to pay disbursals such as the accounting and revenue enhancement readying disbursals. scrutinizing disbursals. costs and disbursals of come ining into and using recognition installations and structured notes. barters or derivative instruments.


There are two signifiers of liquidness restraints that are enforce on investors which are liquidness day of the months and lock-up. Liquidity dates refer to pre-specified times of the twelvemonth when an investor is allowed to deliver portions. Hedge financess typically have quarterly liquidness day of the months. Furthermore. it is frequently required that investors give advanced notice of the desired to deliver: these salvation notices are frequently needed 30 yearss in progress of existent salvation. Lockup refers to the initial sum of clip an investor is required to maintain his or her money in the fund before redeem portions. Lockup therefore represents a committedness to maintain initial investing in a fund for a period of clip. For Singapore registered hedge fund. MAS guidelines stipulate one regular covering twenty-four hours per one-fourth. Redemption of financess normally requires a notice period and it states that salvation returns must be paid to the terminal investor within 95 yearss from the covering twenty-four hours the salvation petition is accepted.


Fundss with a regional presence outperform those without one. Risk-adjusted return difference between nearby and distant hedge fund portfolio is about 4 % and is important. A fund’s geographical propinquity to the companies in which it invests the closer it is to its investings the greater the opportunities that the hedge fund will gain high returns. They are better able to take advantage of local information via short merchandising and the usage of derived functions. Direct manner for hedge fund to take advantage of local cognition is to put in stocks and bonds in their part. Furthermore. Singapore is perceived as holding a high degree of transparence and dependability in concern. economic and regulative personal businesss. It boasts a stable political construction. well-established judicial system and advanced fiscal authorization therefore conveying an advantage to investors locally.

Tax efficiency:

Tax consideration can be a benefit of alternate investings. peculiarly hedge financess which exploit different ways to minimise capital additions and income revenue enhancements for investor. Investors might be worried of being charged at a higher rate for revenue enhancement. Singapore has in topographic point a revenue enhancement inducement strategy which exempts offshore financess from revenue enhancement. Broadly talking. a measure uping fund will be granted revenue enhancement freedom provided it is non 100 % owned by Singapore investors. There is besides Tax Exemption for Singapore Resident Funds. It requires pre-approval from the governments and although it is aligned to the offshore fund freedom strategy. some extra conditions have been imposed.

Ability to extinguish or significantly cut down unsystematic hazard: To diversify from stock-specific hazard known as non-systematic hazard one can put in a scope of stocks with different characteristic. Most investors of such pattern respect it as unwise non to diversify into non-systematic hazard. However. killing two birds with one rock is a more attractive chance to be seized. Therefore. we turn to fudge fund. The chief thought behind diversifying your non-systematic hazard into assets like hedge financess is that any investing with a positive expected return. low volatility and low correlativity to the remainder of portfolio. will hold a great opportunity of cut downing the overall portfolio volatility which is an extra advantage as compared to diversifying through stocks and bonds. Therefore. hedge fund is an indispensable option.

Ability to command plus allotment determination:

Hedge fund director has entire trading authorization over the fund. They are non required to supply investors with information about the implicit in retentions of the hedge financess. Therefore. there’s a deficiency of transparence when puting in hedge financess. Investors are seting their complete trust in the manager’s ability to run into the fund’s aims. As such. investors lose control over their plus allotment. Therefore. it is indispensable to take the right fund director to pull off their investings.

Substitute? Any options that achieve the same aim in a more efficient –less expensive and/or more revenue enhancement efficient- mode: The primary aim of hedge financess is to cut down volatility and hazard while trying to continue capital and present positive returns under all market conditions. The accent here is positive returns under all market conditions and therefore this explains to the full utilization of specialised and carefully selected investing schemes to accomplish that primary end.

There are options which are less expensive and more tax-efficient such as ETFs and ETNs. Both offer similar advantages which are lower fees. lower investing lower limits and greater revenue enhancement efficiency. However. both merchandises have different investings ends. ETFs mirror the indexes they track by keeping diversified aggregation of securities. such as stocks or bonds but traded like stock on an exchange while ETN is an unbarred debt typically issued by an investing bank that mirror index like ETF. Therefore. from the manner they operate. we are able to reason that their investing aims merely demo differences with that of hedge financess.