Strategies for managing an investment portfolio

December 8, 2008 by Guest Contributor

In my last blog, I talked about the overall need for a vision for your loan portfolio and the similarity of a loan portfolio to that of an investment portfolio.  Now that we have that vision in place, we can focus on the overall strategy to achieve that vision.

A valuable first step in managing an investment portfolio is to establish a targeted value by a certain time (say, our targeted retirement age).  Similarly, it’s important that we establish our vision for the loan portfolio regarding overall diversification, return and risk levels.

The next step is to create a strategy to achieve the targeted state.  By focusing on the gaps between our current state and the vision state we have created, we can develop an action plan for achieving the future/vision state.  I am going to introduce some rather unique ideas here.

Consider which of your portfolio segments are overweight?  One that comes to mind would be the commercial real estate portfolio.  The binge that has taken place over the past five plus years has resulted in an unhealthy concentration of loans in the commercial real estate segment.  In this one area alone, we will face the greatest challenge of right-sizing our portfolio mix and achieving the appropriate risk model per our vision.

We have to assess our overall credit risk in the portfolios next.  For small business and consumer portfolios, this is relatively easy using the various credit scores that are available to assess the current risk.  For the larger commercial and industrial portfolios and the commercial real estate portfolios, we must employ some more manual processes to assess risk.  Unfortunately, we have to perform appropriate risk assessments (current up-to-date risk assessments) in order to move on to the next stage of this overall process (which is to execute on the strategy).

Once we have the dollar amounts of either growth or divestiture in various portfolio segments, we can employ the risk assessment to determine the appropriate execution of either growth or divestiture.

Stick with me on this topic because in my next blog we will discuss appropriate risk assessment methodologies and determine appropriate portfolio distributions/segmentations.