Every investor must choose between risk and reward. Returns are rewarded for taking on risk, but that risk must be controlled. The right amount of risk for each investment portfolio must first be decided. The portfolio risk must then be estimated to ensure that it is within that threshold of risk.

Understanding and managing investment portfolio risk is the most critical aspect in capital growth and preservation. In this piece, we will look at how to calculate and manage portfolio risk.

What exactly is the risk of an investing portfolio?

Portfolio management risk indicates the entire risk of an investment portfolio management. It is the sum of the risks associated with each individual investment in a portfolio. The weightings of the various components of a portfolio contribute to the amount to which the portfolio is exposed to certain risks.

Market and other systemic risks are the most significant threats to a portfolio. These risks must be controlled to guarantee that a portfolio achieves its goals. You can only handle this risk if you can quantify it first.

Identifying your risk tolerance

You must first determine how much you can afford to lose, both financially and psychologically, before establishing a portfolio. This represents your risk tolerance. If you lose too much money late in your career, your portfolio may never recover. Stress and illogical decision making might occur from losing more money than you are comfortable with. You should never be in a position where you may lose enough money to make foolish judgments.

How to Assess and Manage Your Investment Portfolio's Risk

You should consult with a financial professional to establish your risk tolerance. You may also make advantage of one of the tools that financial managers frequently feature on their websites. You may estimate your risk tolerance by evaluating your portfolio value, time horizon, monthly income, monthly costs, and income dependability. You should also examine your temperament and how much you are willing to lose mentally.

Risk tolerance may be classified as either high, moderate, or low. Your risk tolerance will be high if you are at least 20 years away from retirement, have a steady salary, and some cash savings. In the event of a market crash, you will have time to wait for the market to rebound before drawing on your portfolio. However, if you are nearing retirement or may lose your source of income, your risk tolerance will be minimal. Losses in your portfolio near or during retirement will result in the withdrawal of capital from an impaired investment portfolio.

Risk appetite and risk capacity are directly connected to risk tolerance. Your risk tolerance will only progressively change over time. It will determine your risk capability at any particular period. Risk capacity may also be defined as the amount of risk required to fulfill investment objectives. Risk appetite considers both tolerance and capability, as well as the current investing landscape.

Portfolio risk types

There are many different forms of investing hazards, both at the portfolio and individual security levels. To begin, the following are instances of hazards unique to individual securities. Diversification makes it simple to handle these risks:

  • Duration risk
  • Default risk 
  • Liquidity risk 
  • Regulatory risk and political risk 

How to Assess Your Investment Portfolio’s Risk

There are several methods for calculating an investment portfolio risk. Each has perks and disadvantages. Because there is no perfect approach, numerous methods are frequently combined. Volatility is the most commonly used risk proxy, yet there are some concerns that volatility does not reflect. The standard deviation is the most common approach to quantify volatility. This is true for both individual stocks and portfolio management.

Calculating the correlation and covariance for each stock can be time-consuming. The correlation between each security and the remainder of the portfolio must be computed. The covariance is then multiplied by the weighted standard deviation for each security. This frequently results in the portfolio’s volatility being lower than that of the majority of its components.

How to Assess and Manage Your Investment Portfolio's Risk

The beta of a portfolio is determined as the weighted average of the betas of each component. A portfolio with a high beta indicates that you may be taking on more risk than you realize. If your portfolio has a beta of 1.5 and the market loses 10%, you should anticipate your portfolio to decline 15%.

The term “value at risk” (VaR) refers to the greatest loss that a portfolio may be predicted to suffer in a particular period. The outcome is determined at a certain degree of confidence, which is often 95 or 99%. VaR may be calculated in two ways: using a normal distribution or using simulations. Banks and regulators frequently utilize VaR to measure risk. However, it has been heavily criticised and is no longer routinely employed by portfolio managers.

How to Manage Your Investment Portfolio’s Risk

There are various methods for limiting portfolio risk. In most circumstances, many approaches are integrated. The stock market has traditionally produced the largest returns, but it has also been the most volatile. As a result, diversification assets across many asset classes is the first step in risk management. Most portfolios should have a significant portion of their assets invested in stocks, but this should be balanced with other forms of assets.

A simple diversified investment portfolio would consist of stocks, bonds, and cash. Long-term gains are best provided by stocks, while bonds give consistent income and cash provides quick liquidity. While this is a significant improvement over a single asset portfolio, risk may be further spread by incorporating other asset types. The goal is to locate assets with very low correlations to stocks and bonds.

This takes us to the topic of alternative assets. These are assets with long-term capital growth but a minimal connection to stocks. Commodities and real estate are more resistant to inflation than other investments. Their inherent worth is determined by physical supply and demand, not by the complicated dynamics that drive financial assets.

The risks associated with private equity and venture capital funds differ. These assets are illiquid, with values computed only on a monthly or quarterly basis. This is normally regarded as a disadvantage. However, in the context of portfolio volatility management, it might be advantageous. During market declines that cause volatility in other asset classes, the value of these funds does not fall.

Hedge funds are the only asset type designed primarily to provide uncorrelated returns. Hedge funds employ a wide range of methods to create returns that are unrelated to market performance. To harvest alpha, they also deploy short selling, leverage, and derivatives.


Understanding and managing portfolio risk is maybe the most critical aspect of portfolio management. Decisions on asset allocation will have the largest influence on the risk that an investment portfolio will encounter. Being able to measure a portfolio’s risk helps investors to maximize prospective profits. The more risk that can be defined and controlled, the more money that can be allocated to riskier assets with higher returns. Reach out to Omura Wealth Advisers today, a portfolio manager Sydney to get adequate information and insight on managing your investment portfolio’s risks.

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