In this age of globalization, companies and entire economies across the world are becoming more intertwined. The world is becoming smaller, figuratively, which is a positive development for business. It means greater specialization, more trade, heightened competition and lower prices.
But when countries become more intertwined, they also have a greater stake in one another's future. And they share in one another's ups and downs more. Consider the mess in the Eurozone as the members debate the future of their weakest links. Or even more to the point, consider the investors and businesses in the U.S. whose fortunes are tied to the Eurozone and the euro. More than ever, the world is moving in tandem. For better or worse.
During good times, everyone flourishes. But in the bad times, we can all stumble together. After all, a rising tide can lift all boats, but a storm can capsize all of them.
On a micro level, that same thing is happening to investors' portfolios. Domestic stocks are moving in lockstep. And gone are the days when you can buy some international stocks to offset the declines, because those are beginning to ebb and flow along with domestics. Even real estate's correlation to stocks has climbed.
So to get true diversification-or non-correlated investments-requires true outside-the-box thinking. That's why we dedicated our cover story to alternatives this month. On a positive note, some alternative strategies are available in a mutual fund structure so they are viable options now for bank advisors and their clients. Go to page 22 to read all about it in "Alternate Reality."
We'd love to hear about your experiences with alternatives, or anything else. So stay in touch with your letters and calls.