- Money Morning Australia

Why Allocation Beats Diversification

Written on 12 October 2011 by Kris Sayce

Why Allocation Beats Diversification

In today’s letter we’ll show you the single, most important financial advice you’ll read this year. Advice that will help you prepare for – and survive – the ongoing financial volatility.

Because make no mistake, the market action you’ve seen since 2007 will continue. How long it will last is anyone’s guess. But think about it. Four years ago few thought the market would be where it is today… and it doesn’t look like things will get better any time soon.

If that’s enough to make you close this email and go do something else… STOP. Keep reading. We’ll explain why in a moment.

But first…

Media and Financial Blackout

Your editor has just come back from a 10-day family holiday to the Gold Coast. It was the first proper holiday we’d had since July last year.

This time, with everything going on in the financial markets we decided this wasn’t going to be a working holiday. There would be no watching the Aussie stock market… no staying up til midnight watching the U.S. markets open… and no wireless Internet access to check the latest stock, bond and currency prices…

It was a total media and financial market blackout.

Do you know what, we coped just fine. We went to the beach, we went to theme parks, we went for walks… we had breakfast, lunch and dinner… all of it without once looking for or thinking about share prices and foreign exchange rates. We didn’t even care about the gold price.

We lived like most of the Aussie population. Just like those who either don’t care or don’t know what’s happening in financial markets. And let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t know Dr. Ben S. Bernanke from a bar of soap.

Here’s the important thing. While it was nice to be ignorant of the markets for a while, it’s not much of an investing strategy. And it’s a pretty poor wealth protection strategy too.

But that’s how most folks deal with their wealth.

Why is that? It’s because they’ve fallen for the trick that investing is hard… that it’s so hard you should leave it up to someone else to look after. (And don’t get us started on the welfare state, “The government will look after me…” argument.)

The thing is wealth planning isn’t that hard if you know what to do…

The importance of allocating your wealth rather than diversifying it

We like Dan Denning’s note in the August issue of Australian Wealth Gameplan:

“…I’m going to show you a share market asset allocation model aligned with my world view. It’s a simple way to split up your financial assets in four categories… Just because it’s ‘the end of the financial world as we know it’ doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about how to preserve and grow your wealth.”

Dan says asset allocation is the most important part of investing. We agree. But when most people think of asset allocation they just think about investing in different shares – a few banks, a few resources stocks and a few retailers… “That should do it”, they think.

But Dan makes the point:

“A well-designed portfolio is a unified strategy, not a bunch of separate punts.

“You could take a bunch of separate stock picks and chuck them in a spreadsheet and call them a portfolio. But it would be no such thing. In a real portfolio, each position has a specific weighting… The various positions in the portfolio work in concert to try and produce the desired return with a certain level of risk.”

But here’s the key: asset allocation doesn’t just mean diversification. The conventional wisdom among most investors is you should spread your wealth across many assets – shares, property, bonds, etc. And once you’ve done that, that’s it. You do nothing else.

We disagree with conventional wisdom. Investors should take a “world view” of their assets and adjust them over time.

Put another way, using an asset allocation approach rather than a plain vanilla diversification approach, you’re actively managing and adjusting your wealth based on where you believe markets and economy is heading next…

Rather than just choosing a bunch of stocks and hoping for the best.

In short, diversification is a lazy, passive and ultimately doomed way of managing your wealth… while asset allocation is a thoughtful, activity and as Dan says:

“According to the famous Brinson Study… asset allocation has a bigger influence over the performance of your portfolio than stock selection or market timing. Get the asset mix right, and you’ve done the really important work.”

It’s a small but important difference.

Asset allocation means more work. But long term, if you want to build wealth rather than see it eroded in a volatile market, putting in the small amount of extra work is vital.


PS. If you’d like to know Dan’s thoughts on asset allocation in more detail, we’d suggest you take a few moments to read this free special report

Already a subscriber to Money Morning... or simply, just like what you're reading? Then show your support and spread the word...
Share this post on...

Kris Sayce
Kris is never one to pull punches when discussing market developments and economic events that can affect your wealth. He’ll take anyone to task — banks, governments, big business — if he thinks they’re trying to pull a fast one with your money. Kris is also the investment director for Australian Small-Cap Investigator, Diggers and Drillers and Revolutionary Tech Investor. If you’d like to more about Kris’ financial world view and investing philosophy then join him on Google+. It's where he shares investment insight, commentary and ideas that he can't always fit into his regular Money Morning essays. Read more about Publisher and Investment Director Kris Sayce.

Leave a Comment

Letters will be edited for clarity, punctuation, spelling and length. Abusive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not post all comments.

If you would prefer to email the editor, you can do so by sending an email to moneymorning@moneymorning.com.au

2 Comments For This Post

  1. M&M Says:

    Another way of thinking about it, is that some of us specialise in our chosen careers and that is how we do better than the average wage / do better than the market.

    Specific stock picking and timing (if you can) will produce best returns.

  2. janet Says:

    Diversification is really saying ” I don’t know what to do”. Put your assets into 100% of one thing…and just see how much it makes you concentrate! It also make you much more alert to risk, and ‘taking a loss’, if your wrong, is much easier if you know that by not being willing to admit it quickly, you could lose the lot!

FREE INVESTMENT REPORT: Why Dividend Stocks Are The Key To Retirement Wealth

In this report discover how dividend stocks can give you income long into retirement — even if stock prices don’t rise.

PLUS you'll get Money Morning every weekday...absolutely free.

Enter your email address below and hit the 'Claim My Free Report' button now.

Privacy Statement
We will collect and handle your personal information in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
You can cancel your subscription at any time

New Frontier Investor

The last investment megatrend birthed stock gains of 11,095%, 20,621% and 50,760% over 20 to 40 years.

If Kris Sayce is right, gains from this next megatrend won’t just reach those heights...

They’ll SURPASS them...

To see why, click here.

Iron ore leadgen

  • ^NDX3961.623+27.487 - +0.70%
  • ^FTSE6795.34+66.90 - +0.99%
  • ^AORD5553.600+19.600 - +0.35%
  • ^AXJO5563.100+19.800 - +0.36%
  • AUDUSD=X0.9387
  • USDJPY=X101.525

The Denning Report

‘The era when the US was a
superpower has ended. We need
to protect ourselves’

Japanese Politician Takaya Muto

A quiet war in the Pacific has begun. The key combatants are the US, China and Japan. And WE are trapped in the crossfire.

In this brand new special report Dan Denning details three reasons why Australia is losing control of its future...and a three-part investment strategy you can use to protect your wealth and PROFIT


interest rates leadgen

Australian Small-Cap Investigator

Why Holden’s future lies
beneath the soil in

And not just the future of Holden…but Toyota,
Hyundai and Mazda too


investing success leadgen

Phil Anderson Cycles, Trends and Forecasts

‘This man can see the future…’

In 2003, when America was at war and CNN was warning of a ‘double-dip recession’, he was buying small cap stocks right at the bottom...

Also in 2003, Australian newspapers were full of headlines warning of a looming property crash, he said nonsense, and that Australian property would boom for years to come...

In 2011, when everyone thought the euro was history, he said ‘the euro is not going to collapse... Greece will NEVER be permitted to default...’

Simply: this man can see things others can’t.

To find out who he is, and what he’s forecasting right now, click here.

Resource Sector leadgen

Gowdie Family Wealth

Which type of family are you?

  1. The kind that ends up in court
    battling over inheritance money…

  2. Or the kind that knows how to
    protect, pass on and grow wealth forever.

Click here if you want the kind of family
that grows its wealth for generations.

Diggers and Drillers [BANNER]

The Money For Life Letter

A giant wrecking ball is about to smash Australia’s retirement system to smithereens...
And unless you take the evasive action outlined in this Special Issue, everything you’ve saved and invested over your whole working life could soon be GROUND to DUST.
Click here to read.

Gold Stock leadgen

Revolutionary Tech Investor


You decide to buy a share on the stock market.

The company, on face value, is run by lunatics.

Their business plan is madness.

It's only 48 cents. What the hell?

You whack ten grand into it.

Ten years later that $10k is worth just shy of

Welcome to the Moon-Shot Club!

Graphic Ad 1 – Blue Chip Stocks Report

More Recommended Reading Below...

The Pursuit of Happiness & The Daily Reckoning

  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • The Daily Reckoning Australia

New Zealand may not be an emerging market, but it’s highly leveraged to growth in emerging markets. [Read More...]

Clearly, illegal immigrants are a headache for the government. But rather than store them on Christm [Read More...]

Don’t fear the swan. But don’t be complacent either. Acknowledge and respect that black swan events [Read More...]

Education was one of the most pressing concerns at the World Future Conference. Our education system [Read More...]

As our personas become ever more digital, our social capital online will be equally important. We ar [Read More...]

Russia and its supporters have nothing to gain from attacking civilians. Russia and Putin were winni [Read More...]

This morning the Australian dollar is trading for 93.9 US cents. It hasn't managed to regain pa [Read More...]

While Australian investors continue to hold most of their share investments in local stocks, they ar [Read More...]

Investors can't consistently choose good investments; because they don't know the future. [Read More...]

Stock markets around the world keep going up. Australia's stock market keeps going sideways. Th [Read More...]


"I think you're fantastic! I love to read what you write...you're so interesting and amusing and I've learned so much" -
Money Morning reader, Chris Gadd

"You guys are brilliant. I feel more relaxed about the future than ever simply because I know what is going on rather than floundering around with smoke screens and mirrors from the government and mainstream" -
Money Morning reader, Helen Carter

"Wow what can I say? I was an economically confused moron until I read your newsletter and even though I've been a subscriber for a short period I can now see how easy it is to understand, if you use common sense and can have the spin translated into everyday language. Thanks for an entertaining read." -
Money Morning reader, John

"Keep up the good independent and well thought out articles offering a view that often debunks mainstream myths." -
Money Morning reader, Craig

"I do admire your straight talking and simple analysis of the situation, I think of you as the Jeremy Clarkson of finance." -
Money Morning reader, Jeffery