Risk profile matters for investors. It is relevant information, because anybody has the same standard to resist the market changes. When we speak about risk profiling, we mean a process for finding the optimal level of investment risk for an investor, considering three items:
- Risk required: risk associated with the return required to achieve the investor’s goals from the financial resources available.
- Risk capacity: the level of financial risk the investor can afford to take.
- Risk tolerance: the level of risk the investor is comfortable with.
The three components are different faces of the same process. For instance, you can be very aggressive in investments (risk tolerance), but without very much money to invest, because you are very engaged with different kind of expenditures, as a mortgage or children (risk capacity).
Investment authorities in different countries have developed several standards to test the risk profile for individuals and these tests are required to banks, wealth managers and financial adviser with their customers. These tests ask for the experience, the knowledge and the strategy. An individual with low knowledge and experience in investments cannot begin with complex products, because the risk of losing a huge amount of money is very high.
Risk profile means that individuals and their investments have to agree the same standard. From this perspective, the usual range comes from very conservative to aggressive. Usually, conservative investors prefer a lower performance if their portfolios suffer less changes and tend to keep their investments for a long term. Aggressive investors choose always a higher performance, although the assets suffer more changes and they have more probability to loss their money. They also look for short or medium-term investments.
What are the recommendations for conservative risk profiles in order to build their portfolios? Fixed-income assets (bonds, fixed-income mutual funds), cash, deposits and, if they are a bit biased to equities, the best are liquid stocks that pay dividends. On the other hand, aggressive profiles will look for equities (even in risky countries, as emergings or frontier), short-term assets and derivatives. They can provide high returns, but you can also loss everything.
What is the main recommendation over the ones above? Every investor has to honest with himself to accept his profile. If you lie yourself, you can be at a very high risk in investments. That is why you have to fill in a risk test, before you put your money in any adventure.