Many financial advisors who seek alternative investments may not be picking the ones they actually want for their objectives, according to a recent report.

More than three-quarters of advisors using alternative funds say they choose them to reduce their portfolios’ risk, according to a recent report from BlackRock cited by FA-IQ sister publication Ignites. But at the same time, most advisors who use alternative funds are in ones that have a high correlation with equity products, which means they’re not in fact diversifying their portfolios, BlackRock says, citing data from 13,784 models that advisors have run through the firm’s Aladdin risk management platform over the 12 months ending June 30, according to Ignites.

The most popular alternative products used were multi-alternative funds — which move with the S&P 500 about 61% of the time, according to BlackRock, the publication writes. Other products popular with advisors — options-based and long/short equity funds — also correlate closely with the S&P 500, according to the report cited by Ignites. Moreover, advisors rely on past returns when selecting alternatives — and the strong gains in equities have resulted in top-performing alternative funds accumulating exposure to equities, says Patrick Nolan, a BlackRock director and portfolio strategist, according to the publication.


Only about a third of the analyzed portfolios, however, had at least one alternative product, according to BlackRock, the publication writes. The typical allocation to alternatives was 8% of the portfolio, according to the report cited by Ignites.