Traditional ways of investing would be going to shares, bonds, mainstream property, cash, and other traditional asset classes. But there are more unusual, yet highly rewarding opportunities called Alternative investment, usually embarked on by smart investors because of the risks involved in it.
Here are alternative investment ideas ranked from safest to riskiest, that are available in market:
1. Structured products
This is basically a contract with a financial institution to pay you a defined return at a defined time depending on the performance of the stock market. It’s the safest of all the other alternative investments. The only way you could lose money is when the stock market is performing catastrophically badly.
2. Bridging finance
These are short-term loans used by property buyers who are expecting to get a mortgage from the bank but cannot wait for the approval. For private investors, you can invest in funds that pool bridging loans, in order to spread the risk across several borrowers. The loan is secured against the property.
3. Peer-to-peer lending
Investors meet with individuals or businesses who want to borrow money. Borrowers can get lower rates than they would be charged by a bank, while lenders can earn more money on their savings than they could from a cash account. It can be quite risky for the investors because the individual or the small business might default or become bankrupt.
Returns from investing in woodland come from any increase in the value of the land and the trees on it, and any income produced by felling trees for timber. But increase in the value of the land is only good if you can also sell the forest. There are some excellent tax breaks in the market, with no income or capital gains tax to pay and exemption from inheritance tax if you hold your investment for two years.
5. Buy-to-let property
The property will form a large part of your overall wealth. You need to have at least 25% of the value of the property to use as a deposit, plus extra to cover any refurbishments and legal fees. Investors will likely face competition from professional landlords and may have to deal with rogue tenants and maintenance issues.
Rare stamps will have value as long as there are stamp collectors. The most valuable can fetch six- or even seven-figure sums. Stamp values can keep on going higher, and you can search for offers for private investors.
Rare coins are best bought through a reputable auction house, which will provide a money-back guarantee should the coin turn out to be a forgery. As with stamps, the value is underpinned by the popularity of coin collecting as a hobby.
The traditional way to invest is through established wine merchants. You must have knowledge on fine wine and their exact records. More recently, wine funds have been launched which offer an alternative way to access the market. Some of these qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).
9. Business Angels
When you become an angel, you invest in smaller companies that are not quoted on the stock market. Typically, you won’t see any return until the business is sold or floats on the stock market. It could take years, and you could either lose all your invested money, or reap triple returns.
10. Equity crowdfunding
This is very similar to business angels, but managed wholly online. Investors can either deal directly with the company and get your name on the shares, or let the crowdfunding website deal on behalf of hundreds or thousands of investors. However, if the business you invested in does well, a bigger investor may buy it.
Gemstone-grade diamonds have increased nearly tenfold in value since the 1960s. The diamond price is much less volatile than the price of gold. But it may be difficult to access for investors because diamonds are valued subjectively by experts.
12. Carbon credits
A carbon credit is essentially a permit to release one tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Companies that exceed their allowances are supposed to buy more credits, according to global cooperation. Private investors have been targeted by firms trying to sell them carbon credits. This is a highly specialist market and best left to professional traders.
13. Land banking
Land banking companies take a piece of land, parcel it up and sell it off to investors; hoping that once the land is earmarked for development, it will soar in value. However, there is often no development and investors are left holding a useless piece of land either in the market or overseas. A lot of land banking schemes have been stopped by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).