Adding REITs to the Mix
Works well but the downside needs to be managed
There is lots of client interest in alternative asset classes, mainly because bonds no longer provide enough income and because they are structurally vulnerable to inflation. This week, we demonstrate this it is possible to generate superior long-term returns by adding REITs to an actively managed portfolio of equities and bonds. The key messages are (1) that the combined portfolio needs to be actively and systematically traded and (2) that exposure to REITs must be properly constrained in order to avoid the savage drawdowns that are characteristic of this asset class. We also note that US REITs have performed very strongly this year, so now may not be the time to start this strategy.