'Financial Tylenol' for wealthy investors

Managed futures are risky, but good performers in this economy

By Kim Peterson Oct 30, 2009 12:47PM
So-called "alternative investments" might normally raise some red flags, but in this economy, heck, we're open to anything.

One type of alternative investment, managed futures, has actually done pretty well.

Managed futures focus on futures contracts, and are run on computer models, reports The New York Times. They can be customized for either a long or short strategy.

They're risky, which is why the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn't let you in on them unless you have at least a $1 million net worth, the Times reports.

And if you really want to diversify, managed futures might be a good bet because they tend to respond differently than stocks and bonds.

“Managed futures tend to do well during periods of great market volatility,” the chief investment strategist of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney told the Times. “I call them financial Tylenol.”

He recommends that investors give about 4% of their portfolio to managed futures.

And people that have done that over the past two years are very happy they did. Managed futures are up about 20% during that time.

But in addition to being risky, managed futures are also pricey, with higher fees associated than you might find with other investments.

For more on managed futures, check out this Investopedia writeup.

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