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Investing Glossary

Alternative Investing

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An alternative investment is a financial asset that does not fall into one of the conventional investment categories. Conventional categories include stocks, bonds, and cash. Alternative investments can include private equity or venture capital, hedge funds, managed futures, art and antiques, commodities, and derivatives contracts. Real estate is also often classified as an alternative investment. An alternative investment is a financial asset that does not fit into the conventional equity/income/cash categories. Private equity or venture capital, hedge funds, real property, commodities, and tangible assets are all examples of alternative investments. Most alternative investments have fewer regulations from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and tend to be somewhat illiquid. While traditionally aimed at institutional or accredited investors, alternative investments have become feasible to retail investors via alternative funds. Most alternative investment assets are held by institutional or accredited investors because of their complex nature, lack of regulation, and degree of risk. Alternative investments tend to have higher fees and minimum investments, compared to retail-oriented mutual funds and ETFs. They also tend to have lower transaction costs, and it can be harder to get verifiable financial data for these assets.

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