Does Higher Yield Really Mean a Higher Chance of Loss?

September 8, 20163 min read
Does Higher Yield Really Mean a Higher Chance of Loss?
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Traditionally, experts have explained investing to their clients in an oversimplified way – the idea that higher risk equals bigger rewards, while less risk gets you less of a return. At a very broad level, that’s true– but it doesn’t really paint the whole picture.

In general, taking more risks can lead to bigger yields on equities and other investments. That’s why many financial advisors suggest taking on a lot of risks as a young investor (when you have more time to ride out markets) and decreasing risk in a 401k or IRA as a career pro moves toward retirement.

This principle is evident in the bond market: safer bonds have lower returns, and very risky bonds (often called “junk” bonds) come with enticing high-interest promises. The investor is getting a bigger potential payload against the higher risk of default by the borrower.

Another investment option that people tend to see as risky and volatile is alternative investments. Alternative investments are those that don’t fall into one of the most common boxes: equities, bonds, or easily traded funds.

So are they safe?

As it turns out, there are ways to increase yields without taking on additional risk.

At Yieldstreet, we try to take advantage some of the elements of investing that don’t necessarily create more risk.

For example, take liquidity risk – that’s the idea that by keeping your money in an investment for a longer period of time, or accepting less desirable payout terms, you get more eventual yield. Currently all Yieldstreet offerings will lock capital for one to three years depending on the investment duration.

We also talk about something else that we call “inconvenience risk” – this is the idea that there may be delays to a given resolution, like a payoff from a completed project. The potential for delay can be tied to bigger yields – because the borrower is asking for greater flexibility regarding a set of outcomes. For example, we can estimate when different legal cases may settle, but cannot guarantee a payment date.

Another factor is the frequency of payments in a payout schedule. In some cases, investments that pay out less frequently will compensate the investor for the length of time that the money is tied up. Again, the investor, as a lender, is getting compensated for things that, while inconvenient, don’t raise risks. It is important to note that liquidity risk, inconvenience risk and frequency of payments don’t increase chances of defaulting, or lessen the chance that a particular gain is going to happen. They just change the timeline or potentially make a project more complicated.

There’s also a set of strategic considerations when looking at risk, like “concentration risk.”  In many ways, concentration is the opposite of asset diversification. By diversifying a portfolio, investors try to minimize their risk by spreading throughout their portfolio. They can hedge against a risky position, or spread money around to decrease the chances that the basket of investments will take a big hit all at once. Concentration risk involves having a smaller portfolio of assets (for example, in real estate, think owning 3 properties instead of 10.)

Higher-yield loans are considered riskier than loans that target much lower returns, such as corporate bonds. The comparatively higher risks presented by these investments are set forth in detail in the offering documents listed on the offering page, with many bearing on the ability of a given borrower to pay back the loan according to its terms. Yieldstreet seeks to minimize that risk, for example with asset-backed collateral and sometimes personal guarantees, again as described in the offering documents prepared for each investment.

All of these are mitigating factors in yield. Some elements of an opportunity add to risk; others don’t. It’s important to be clear-eyed about the risk that you take on, and to strategize about how you can minimize any risk that does exist. Any investor needs to be clear about his/her appetite for risk, so that regardless of how things work out, they can be confident in knowing the rules of the game, and ready to try again.

We believe our 10 alternative asset classes, track record across 470+ investments, third party reviews, and history of innovation makes Yieldstreet “The leading platform for private market investing,” as compared to other private market investment platforms.

1 Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance. All securities involve risk and may result in significant losses.

3 "Annual interest," "Annualized Return" or "Target Returns" represents a projected annual target rate of interest or annualized target return, and not returns or interest actually obtained by fund investors. “Term" represents the estimated term of the investment; the term of the fund is generally at the discretion of the fund’s manager, and may exceed the estimated term by a significant amount of time. Unless otherwise specified on the fund's offering page, target interest or returns are based on an analysis performed by Yieldstreet of the potential inflows and outflows related to the transactions in which the strategy or fund has engaged and/or is anticipated to engage in over the estimated term of the fund. There is no guarantee that targeted interest or returns will be realized or achieved or that an investment will be successful. Actual performance may deviate from these expectations materially, including due to market or economic factors, portfolio management decisions, modelling error, or other reasons.

4 Reflects the annualized distribution rate that is calculated by taking the most recent quarterly distribution approved by the Fund's Board of Directors and dividing it by prior quarter-end NAV and annualizing it. The Fund’s distribution may exceed its earnings. Therefore, a portion of the Fund’s distribution may be a return of the money you originally invested and represent a return of capital to you for tax purposes.

5 Represents the sum of the interest accrued in the statement period plus the interest paid in the statement period.

6 The internal rate of return ("IRR") represents an average net realized IRR with respect to all matured investments, excluding our Short Term Notes program, weighted by the investment size of each individual investment, made by private investment vehicles managed by YieldStreet Management, LLC from July 1, 2015 through and including July 18th, 2022, after deduction of management fees and all other expenses charged to investments.

7 Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Yieldstreet Alternative Income Fund before investing. The prospectus for the Yieldstreet Alternative Income Fund contains this and other information about the Fund and can be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by referring to The prospectus should be read carefully before investing in the Fund. Investments in the Fund are not bank deposits (and thus not insured by the FDIC or by any other federal governmental agency) and are not guaranteed by Yieldstreet or any other party.

8 This tool is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any information provided here as investment advice or a recommendation, endorsement or solicitation to buy any securities offered on Yieldstreet. Yieldstreet is not a fiduciary by virtue of any person's use of or access to this tool. The information provided here is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of this information before making any decisions based on such information.

9 Statistics as of the most recent month end.

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