4 alternative investment ideas for ASX investors

It’s true that the majority of investors still prefer to ‘pick’ traditional shares for their portfolios, however, there a number of interesting products and stocks that now trade on the ASX that offer exposure to a wide range of investment strategies.

Some of these strategies have traditionally been available only to institutional or high net worth investors, but thanks to some of these new products, any investor on the ASX can now have access to them as well.

Over the past year or so, four of these investment opportunities have caught my eye, including:

Absolute Equity Performance Fund Ltd (ASX: AEG)

The Absolute Equity Performance Fund is a listed investment company (LIC) that utilises a long-short strategy. The strategy basically involves identifying companies that are either undervalued or overvalued in the same sector and then buying and selling similar amounts respectively.

For example, if you believed Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) was undervalued and TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) was overvalued, then you would buy Telstra and short sell TPG. The relative mis-pricing between these stock ‘pairs’ should theoretically provide positive returns independently of the overall market.

The LIC is run by Richard Fish and Sam Shepherd who are the fund managers behind the highly successful Bennelong Long Short Equity Fund. That fund generated annualised net returns of 18.14% between February 2002 and September 2015 and was only available to institutional investors. As a result of this impressive performance, the shares of the LIC constantly trade at a significant premium to the portfolio’s net tangible assets (NTA) value.

Future Generation Investment Company Ltd (ASX: FGX)

The Future Generation Investment Company is another LIC with a twist. It was founded by one of Australia’s most successful investors in Geoff Wilson and gives investors the opportunity to gain exposure a group of prominent Australian fund managers they otherwise would be unable to invest with.

For example, Regal Funds Management is one of the fund managers that investors would usually be unable to gain exposure to as they require a minimum direct investment of $50,000.

As highlighted below, the LIC also provides investors with a range of investment strategies that are typically available to professional investors only.

Source: Company April Investment Update

Source: Company April Investment Update

Another interesting point about the company is that the fund managers will forgo any performance and management fees. Instead, the company will donate 1% of its net assets each year to charity.

The shares are currently trading around their NTA value, so now could be a good time for investors to consider this alternative investment.

BetaSh Crud Oil ETF (ASX: OOO) – Also known as BetaShares Crude Oil Index ETF

Investors who want exposure to the oil sector but do not want the hassle of analysing specific companies could consider this crude oil exchange traded fund (ETF). The ETF tracks price changes in the oil futures market with a currency hedge against movements in the AUD/USD exchange rate.

This means investors do not have to worry about balance sheets and cash flows. Instead they can take a position based purely on their view of future oil prices.

Van Vec Aus Equ (ASX: MVW) – Also known as VanEck Vectors Australian Equal Weight ETF

This is an ETF with a difference. Unlike most other broad based market ETFs that weigh constituents based on market capitalisation, constituents in this ETF are weighted equally.

This method reduces exposure to the large-capitalisation companies that typically dominate the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) and increases exposure to the most liquid Australian mid-caps, providing an alternative to ETFs based purely on market capitalisation.

Interestingly, this equal weight ETF has outperformed the main market index by around 10% over the past 12 months.

Although these new investment ideas are pretty interesting, investors shouldn't forget about the importance of solid dividend paying shares.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges owns shares of Absolute Equity Performance Fund Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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