I believe quite strongly in diversification to avoid jeopardizing your total investment and possibly loosing your entire portfolio. There have been recent examples of people who have placed their nest eggs with one person ( recent ponsi schemes ) and lost everything. The returns sounded good and these people wanted to consolidate their investments in one place so it was more easily managed.
I read several articles recently were the writer indicated that there were some reasons that you would want to consolidate your investments. I will repeat them here for your consideration and then discuss them in a bit more detail.
- It is easier to track and re-balance your assets
- Lower Fees
- Fewer dead trees
- No more orphan accounts
- Peace of mind
There is always a balance between diversification and consolidating accounts under one investment adviser or one set of investments. The fundamental rule is that you do not want to risk everything you have with one adviser or one investment. If the adviser is not what he purports to be or if the investment goes south then you have lost everything.
There is a case for having a reasonable amount of diversification and there is a case for consolidating many accounts and investments into several to avoid a financial meltdown while making it easier to manage over all. Never put all of your eggs in one basket. Lets look at a few of the suggestions in more detail.
It is easier to track and re-balance your assets
There is no question that it would be easier to track your assets and re-balance them as needed if all of your assets are in one place. One of the benefits of having everything in one place is monitoring asset allocation and making sure you are investing following the guidelines appropriate for your risk assessment.
Still, our belief is that you really should diversify across several accounts with different advisers to avoid all of the eggs in one basket syndrome. A benefit of this approach is that you now can get advice from two advisers and compare their suggestions and strategies to then make the best decision for your personal investments. This takes more time and effort, however it is the best long term strategy by far.
There is no question that if you have multiple accounts, you are going to have to pay multiple fees , one for each account. It may be $50 an account, but that is $50 you do not have. Consolidating accounts can certainly save you money in this area .
Compare the advantage to diversification. You have $100,000 to invest. You can place this all in one account and have it managed by a single adviser with a $50 fee each year for the account. All o your eggs are in one basket and if that adviser does not do what he or she is supposed to do, then your full $100,000 is at risk.
Diversifying across advisers certainly means you will probably pay $50 twice, but at least if one adviser goes bad, you still have $50,000 of your money. We just have to look at the recent ponsi schemes that even sophisticated investors got caught up in.
Fewer dead trees
Consolidation of accounts certainly means less paper and less mail to your home with account statements. That is an advantage for sure. But all you are doing is reducing a bit of paper.
Compare to receiving paper for two accounts with diverse investment advise and guidance that allows you to compare and make more informed decisions. Sure you get more paper m but won’t you feel better and worry less if the advice from two advisers match up? I think again the diversification angle is much more valuable than saving a couple of pages.
No more orphan accounts
This is a weak benefit at best. True there are less accounts to worry about should you move and forget to advise the institution about were you are moving to . The institution does not know were you are , cannot find you and the account becomes orphaned. This does happen, however if you are dealing with a credible investment adviser, you will be discussing your investments on a monthly basis.
This will occur with any account. The solution is to make sure that you always update the company with your up to date contact information. Also you should be providing next of kin and back up contact information for every account. Again a little more attention on your part will also make sure this never happens.
Peace of mind
This is one of the weakest points anyone could make. I would be more worried if all of my investments were invested through one adviser or even worse in one investment. There is certainly no peace of mind in locking everything you own in one investment. With all of the various schemes that are going on and have been in the news recently, I would be lying in bed awake at night worried if I had done the right thing. Even so called friends of the family have been found to be as corrupt as anyone when it comes to money. Protect yourself and make sure that you are well diversified at all levels.
Hopefully this post makes sense to readers. If you agree or disagree, I would like to hear your thoughts on what you think about consolidating investments vs. diversification of your life savings.