Why asset diversification matters for investors

Scott Hansell
Financial Planning
Scott Hansell, Financial Planner

In the world of finance and investment, the concept of portfolio diversification plays a pivotal role. It is a strategy that forms the bedrock of prudent financial management and is often touted as one of the most effective ways to manage risk and maximise returns. In this article, we'll delve into the significance of portfolio diversification, the advantages it offers, and how a well-managed portfolio ensures a diversified set of investments.

Scott Hansell, Financial Planner

What is diversification for investors?

Diversification, in essence, is the practice of spreading your investments across a variety of asset classes and securities to reduce exposure to any single asset or risk. In other words, it's the old adage of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Instead of investing all your funds in a single company's stock or a specific industry, you allocate your investments across a range of assets such as stocks, bonds, commercial property  and cash equivalents. This diversification helps mitigate the impact of poor performance in any one investment, reducing the overall risk of your portfolio.

An example of asset diversification

Imagine an investor who puts all their money into a single technology company's stock. If that company faces financial difficulties or market setbacks, the investor's entire portfolio would suffer. In contrast, a diversified investor would spread their investments across various sectors, such as technology, healthcare, commercial property and bonds. Even if one sector falters, the diversified portfolio would likely remain more stable.

The advantages of diversification

The benefits of diversification are manifold and can be instrumental in achieving your financial goals while managing risk:

Risk reduction

One of the primary advantages of diversification is risk reduction. When you spread your investments across different asset classes, you lower the risk associated with any single investment. If one asset underperforms, the potential losses are offset by the gains in others.

Steady returns

Diversification can provide a more stable and predictable stream of returns. While some investments may be volatile, others can act as a stabilising force, smoothing out the overall performance of your portfolio.

Enhanced opportunity for growth

Diversifying across various asset classes allows you to tap into different market trends and economic cycles. This ensures that you have exposure to areas that may perform well even when others are struggling.

Disadvantages of diversification

However, it is essential to consider the potential downsides of diversification:

Diluted gains

In a booming market, over-diversification can lead to diluted gains. While diversification aims to reduce risk, it may also limit your exposure to highly profitable assets. When one asset outperforms the others, its gains can be offset by weaker-performing assets in your portfolio.


Managing a diversified portfolio can be complex. With numerous assets and investment strategies, monitoring and rebalancing your portfolio may require more time and effort. For some investors, this complexity can be overwhelming.

Transaction costs

 Frequent buying and selling of assets to maintain diversification can result in higher transaction costs, which can eat into your overall returns. It's essential to strike a balance between the benefits of diversification and the associated costs.

Diversifying your portfolio can be achieved through several strategies:

Invest in different asset classes

 Spread your investments across various asset classes like stocks, bonds, commercial property, and commodities to reduce your exposure to any single category of assets. This ensures that your portfolio isn't overly reliant on the performance of a specific asset class.

Allocate your investments across sectors and industries

 Within each asset class, consider diversifying further by investing in different sectors and industries. For example, in the stock market, you can have exposure to technology, healthcare, consumer goods, and financial sectors, among others, to reduce sector-specific risks.

Consider geographic diversification with global investment

 Investing in different regions and countries can provide geographic diversification. By holding international assets alongside domestic ones, you can mitigate the risk associated with a single country's economic or political events.

Periodically rebalance your portfolio to maintain desired asset allocation

Over time, the performance of your assets may deviate from your desired allocation. Regularly review and adjust your portfolio to bring it back in line with your initial diversification strategy. This ensures that your risk profile remains consistent with your investment objectives.

Assets ideal for diversification

The key to successful diversification lies in selecting assets that do not move in perfect correlation with each other. Common assets for diversification include:

  • Stocks and bonds
  • Domestic and international investments
  • Commercial property
  • Commodities
  • Cash and cash equivalents

Dangers of over diversifying your portfolio

While diversification is essential, there is also a risk of overdoing it. Over-diversification can lead to higher transaction costs, complexity in portfolio management, and diluted returns. It's crucial to strike a balance between diversifying adequately and overextending your portfolio.

Contact Lovewell Blake for help with asset diversification

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