Just as the media and regulators continue to discuss the use of alternative investments and the active trading of hedge funds in contributing to the downfall of the economy and the stock market, many private investors are seeing each as a way to help protect themselves from recent market uncertainty (see New York Times article). While a more conservative trading mentality has been the norm for high net worth investors, many are now questioning its usefulness in the current market environment. Many investors who in the past have relied on a simple mix of stocks, bonds, and cash, and now turning to managed futures, financial futures, hedge funds, funds-of-funds, mutual hedge funds, currencies, commodities, and other avenues for gaining exposure to alternative investments.

Maybe even more interesting is how these same investors are becoming aggressive in moving away from a strict buy-and-hold approach, and instead are looking to take advantage of short-term trading opportunities - a move that indicates in part that such investors are not only opportunistic, but also worried about placing longer-term bets on the markets. As mentioned by Paul Speargas, senior client at WMS Partners:

“The buy-and-hold strategy, which was almost universally accepted by the investment and academic community over the past several decades, is no longer the sole investment strategy to be employed in order to deliver solid investment returns. A thoughtful balance between long-term investing and short-to-intermediate term trades is likely the recipe for investment success in the volatile years ahead.”
Given the interest by clients to still utilize hedge funds, commodities, futures, and alternative investments, not to mention the desire of the Fed and Treasury to have investors step-up and provide capital to purchase distressed assets, it might be good to pause and reflect before slapping or over-regulating the trading hands that are still willing to check the temperature of the investment waters.