What would you tell a client who wanted to invest a six-figure sum of play money? We asked some fund managers the question for our recent Guide to Wealth and they happily gave us their picks. But most financial advisors are focused on prudent investment diversification and preservation of capital, and they typically don’t go down the high-risk-high-reward route. We asked anyway: How should a client invest $100,000 of extra cash to potentially earn a great return?
We emphasized that this hypothetical client had plenty of money saved for retirement, ample emergency funds and no debt problems. Our four advisors offered up such persuasive ideas that we wish we had an extra hundred grand to invest right now.
Aaron Brachman, wealth manager, Steward Partners Global Advisory: I suggest buying long-dated government bonds. I think there’s a huge opportunity here in a relatively short period of time to see some substantial appreciation. Long-dated fixed income is great because income buys you patience. Let’s say I own a 30-year government bond and interest rates go from 5% to 6%. Who cares? I’m collecting 5% while I wait. As long as interest rates at some point come back below 5%, I’m going to see some appreciation.
Everyone’s worried about when the Fed is going to pause. But it doesn’t matter; you don’t need to get the timing exactly right. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Do I think interest rates are going to be at 5% in perpetuity?” If the answer is yes, then don’t buy long-dated government bonds. But if you think at some point interest rates are going to move lower, then this is a great entry point. You have a margin of safety here and you will eventually be rewarded. If interest rates take a decade to go below 5%, then your return will be somewhat diluted. But remember, you’re still collecting 5% per year.
Adam Gentile, managing director, U.S. wealth management, AlTi Tiedemann Global: I recommend taking a longer term thematic view. I would be looking for a transformational technology, in particular for a business or two, maybe even three, at the intersection of AI and clean energy. There’s going to be demand for clean energy technology if for no other reason than corporate and government decarbonization pledges on the books have to get met. We’ve read about how things like advanced sensors, cloud infrastructure and semiconductors have made huge advances in a short amount of time in the clean energy space. In the future, we could layer on advanced AI to help analyze massive data sets, simulate outcomes and continue to move those advances forward. I think it will be a game changer, and that forgoing that immediate satisfaction of a quick hit will be well worth it.
Advertisement – Scroll to Continue
So how do you do it? While you can invest to some extent in the public markets—buying individual equities and even specialized ETFs—the more impactful way to do it would be in the venture capital space. Companies are already out in the marketplace today, raising capital and innovating. One is engineering jet fuel from an electrochemical process using captured carbon dioxide. We know a company that’s developing carbon-negative cement and another that’s building a fully electric short-range plane. All are using AI. The list goes on, with technologies around nuclear fission, geothermal, etc.
Andy Wang, advisor, Runnymede Capital Management: I think higher interest rates have changed the risk-reward prospects. Today, investors can earn 5% to 5.5% interest with little risk through a high-yield savings account, certain money-market funds or by buying three- to six- month Treasury bills. That equates to $5,000 to $5,500 in interest annually with little risk, and it’s liquid. So if you have a big nest egg, your excess cash can be working for you while you sleep, and you’ll likely sleep very well.
If there’s a desire for higher potential appreciation, an investor could use a barbell strategy, where capital is invested equally in high-risk and low-risk assets. You could invest half of the $100,000 in a three-month Treasury bill and the other half in stocks.
One idea is an equal-weighted S&P 500 index. The S&P is up 9.1% year to date, but the equal-weighted S&P is down 4.3%. The reason for that disparity is that the “Magnificent Seven” stocks—
Advertisement – Scroll to Continue
—have dominated the performance of the market-cap-weighted S&P. So if you’re bullish, the rationale is that the equal-weighted S&P should outperform the market if the market rises broadly, closing the performance gap between the Magnificent Seven and the other 493 stocks. And if the market should fall, the Magnificent Seven should fall more than the broader market.
Given where interest rates are, I feel pretty good earning 5.5% and waiting to buy stocks when an opportunity arises. Of course, that’s not an easy thing to do. One has to be like a firefighter who’s willing to run into a burning building. But great investors like Warren Buffett have shown that it pays to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.
Dana D’Auria, co-CIO, group president, Envestnet Solutions at Envestnet: I lean toward small-cap stocks. If a stock is a tiny, publicly traded small-cap company, just on the other side of being private, and it’s growth-ey, it’s not necessarily a good long run play. It has lottery ticket attributes.
But long-term evidence suggests that if you filter small-cap stocks appropriately with value and quality measures, with a diversified approach, you would tend to outperform. And small-cap valuations now make it a great time to take that bet. Small caps have obviously felt the pain of higher interest rates. But the underlying relationships that you might take a bet on are still there.