Seasoned investors with a well-balanced portfolio of relatively cautious equity investments may want to consider allocating a modest proportion of net wealth to investments with a higher risk profile. It is something to discuss with your adviser, because any such strategy must be balanced with your overall investment objectives and attitude to risk.
There are a number of interesting sectors to consider, but high risk does not guarantee high reward; it just offers the possibility.
Fund managers may look at areas of the world where there is some political stability. Such areas, often with untapped natural resources and energetic local workforces, can create opportunities for growth. This is very much the case in parts of Africa.
This vast and varied continent could be worth consideration for those who already have exposure to the emerging economies of China and India or simply want to tap into a relatively untested market. Nigeria, a significant oil producer, and Kenya are among the countries in specialist fund managers' sights. South Africa has a well-established track record thanks to valuable deposits of gold, diamonds and industrial minerals.
Latin America is also interesting – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has claimed her country's burgeoning economy could grow by 4 per cent in 2012. Likewise, for investors wanting to keep closer to home, Eastern Europe has a number of exciting emerging economies and it has been mooted that Turkey may beat its 4 per cent economic growth target.
Except when disasters occur, the oil and gas majors are usually solid earnings producers. But some energy companies can have some big swings, such as the impact on power generator Tepco of the 2011 Japanese tsunami. There is also always interest in the renewables market.
For some investors, there’s enough excitement available within the UK and one option is to buy into a 'recovery' fund, where the companies in the portfolio will have been selected because they were once troubled but are now thought to be on the up again.
Property is one example that can be highly cyclical, as can the commodities markets, but both of these sectors could be worth closer examination. Likewise, there are funds specialising in very small firms, such as in the biotech sector – some will fail and some will make it big. As investment in the technology sector has shown in the past, having lots of investors pile in does not provide any guarantees; the greater the risk of individual failure, the greater the benefit of a well-chosen selection.
NOTHING CONTAINED IN THE ARTICLE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS GIVING INDIVIDUAL FINANCIAL ADVICE. THE VALUE OF INVESTMENTS IS NOT GUARANTEED AND WILL FLUCTUATE. YOU MAY GET BACK LESS THAN YOU INVEST. PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE MAY BE VARIATIONS FOR THOSE LIVING IN SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND.