How many funds should you hold in your portfolio? | Barclays Smart Investor (2024)

Conventional investing wisdom is that that putting their money into a range of different funds can help investors spread their risk.

That’s because if you invest into several different types of asset, as well as different geographical areas, if one of these assets or regions underperforms, hopefully some of your other investments will perform better, helping compensate for any losses.

Remember, however, that no matter how much you diversify your investments, they could still fall in value and you could get back less than you invest.

Knowing exactly how many funds you should hold in your portfolio isn’t always easy. Here, we explain why there’s no ‘magic number’ of funds to hold, and how there are funds available that can provide a single solution for investors seeking diversification.

Understand what you are investing in

When assessing whether you have the ‘right’ number of funds in your portfolio, the key point to consider is whether the number you hold can help you achieve your desired results, based on your approach to risk, and the time period you’re investing over.

For example, if you are comfortable accepting a high level of risk in return for potentially higher growth, you may decide to allocate more money into funds investing in shares. If you prefer to focus on lower-risk investments, you may want to include more funds that invest in bonds and gilts, which are bonds issued by the UK government.

Remember that investments should be held for at least five years, but preferably longer. They can fall as well as rise in value, so there’s the risk you could get back less than you put in.

Some funds focus on a specific geographical area, type of investment or sector. Others are more general and invest across several regions and sectors. Each fund typically holds dozens of underlying investments. If, for example, you invest in 20 different funds, you could be holding as many as 1,000 different stocks, and there’s a risk that you could be duplicating some of your investments.

You can find out more about each fund’s objectives, and risk and reward profile from the fund’s key investor information document (KIID), which you must read before you invest. If you hold several funds with the same investment objective and similar holdings, your portfolio may be overly concentrated or ‘overweight’ in one particular area, and you may want to consider rebalancing it. Remember, diversification comes from spreading your money across many different underlying investments, and not just by holding multiple funds.

Understanding when you have too many funds

While it’s important to make sure your portfolio is properly diversified, having too many funds can make it difficult to keep track of your investments.

You should therefore only keep as many funds in your portfolio as you’re comfortable monitoring. For example, if you hold 10 or 20 different funds, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the changing value of all these investments to make sure your asset allocation still matches your investment goals. If your time is limited, you may find it easier to keep an eye on the performance of a smaller number of funds.

It’s also important to remember that when parts of your portfolio perform strongly, they’ll become a larger part of your asset allocation, which means your asset mix can change.

If this happens, you may need to rebalance your portfolio and make changes so that the funds you hold have a chance of meeting your objectives.

Remember that no matter how you tweak your holdings, investments still carry risk. They can fall in value as well as rise and you may get back less than you invest.

How multi-asset funds may help

A multi-asset fund can provide a single solution for investors looking for diversification but who perhaps aren’t comfortable monitoring several different funds themselves, or who might not have the time.

As the name suggests, a multi-asset fund invests in a range of different assets, with the fund manager responsible for getting the balance of investments. There are different types of multi-asset funds, which have different investment objectives. The right variety of asset mix for you will depend on your attitude to risk. For example, if you have a strong appetite for risk, you may decide to invest in multi-asset fund with a higher proportion invested in shares than other assets, whereas if you are more cautious, you may prefer a multi-asset fund with a lower proportion in shares.

Taking on more risk can mean potentially higher returns but there’s also a greater chance of losing money. On the other hand, less risky investments may provide you with more secure returns (albeit that they too can still fall in value), but these are likely to be lower.

Multi-asset funds may be multi manager funds, which build a portfolio of different funds run by other managers. This gives the benefit of the manager’s investment decisions, but charges will usually be higher.

Again, you can find out the key features of these funds from their KIIDs.

Find out more about multi-asset funds

If you’re unsure where to invest, seek professional financial advice.

How many funds should you hold in your portfolio? | Barclays Smart Investor (2024)


How many funds should you hold in a portfolio? ›

You should therefore only keep as many funds in your portfolio as you're comfortable monitoring. For example, if you hold 10 or 20 different funds, you'll need to keep a close eye on the changing value of all these investments to make sure your asset allocation still matches your investment goals.

How much money should be in my portfolio? ›

A general rule of thumb is that cash or cash equivalents should range from 2% to 10% of your portfolio, although the right answer for you will depend on your individual circ*mstances.

What is the ideal number of mutual funds in a portfolio? ›

Unless you are very well versed with the markets and have expert knowledge about mutual funds, a good rule of thumb would be to own: Large Cap Mutual Funds: Up to 2. Maybe 3 at best. Beyond that, it doesn't make sense as there will be a great overlap in the shares owned by your mutual funds.

What is Warren Buffett's 90 10 rule? ›

Warren Buffet's 2013 letter explains the 90/10 rule—put 90% of assets in S&P 500 index funds and the other 10% in short-term government bonds.

Is 30 stocks too many in a portfolio? ›

Typically people are advised to diversify their portfolio of stocks by investing in 20–30 companies. Doing this limits the downside risk should certain companies perform badly. Some people invest in 50 stocks while others invest in 5.

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50-30-20 rule recommends putting 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. The savings category also includes money you will need to realize your future goals.

How much money do I need to invest to make $1000 a month? ›

A stock portfolio focused on dividends can generate $1,000 per month or more in perpetual passive income, Mircea Iosif wrote on Medium. “For example, at a 4% dividend yield, you would need a portfolio worth $300,000.

What is the 80 20 rule investment portfolio? ›

In investing, the 80-20 rule generally holds that 20% of the holdings in a portfolio are responsible for 80% of the portfolio's growth. On the flip side, 20% of a portfolio's holdings could be responsible for 80% of its losses.

What is the 75 5 10 rule for mutual funds? ›

Diversified management investment companies have assets that fall within the 75-5-10 rule. A 75-5-10 diversified management investment company will have 75% of its assets in other issuers and cash, no more than 5% of assets in any one company, and no more than 10% ownership of any company's outstanding voting stock.

What is the 80% rule for mutual funds? ›

Under the final amendments, when a fund employs a derivatives strategy, the fund will generally be required to use the notional value to determine if 80% of its funds are invested in accordance with the focus its name suggests.

Is the 3 fund portfolio good enough? ›

While the three-fund portfolio is great because it's simple to learn and easy to manage, it isn't without its disadvantages, as we discuss on our personal finance primer.

What is Warren Buffett's golden rule? ›

Buffett's headline rule is “don't lose money” and his second rule is “don't forget rule one”. This might sound obvious. Of course, it is. But it's important to look at the message within.

What did Warren Buffett tell his wife to invest in? ›

The percentage may shock you.

Part of the cash would go directly to his wife and part to a trustee. He told the trustee to put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a low-cost S&P 500 index fund.

How much money do I need to invest to make $3 000 a month? ›

Imagine you wish to amass $3000 monthly from your investments, amounting to $36,000 annually. If you park your funds in a savings account offering a 2% annual interest rate, you'd need to inject roughly $1.8 million into the account.

What is the 5% portfolio rule? ›

The Five Percent Rule is a simple strategy that involves investing no more than 5% of one's portfolio in any single investment. This approach is based on the principle that by limiting the exposure to any one investment, investors can reduce the risk of significant losses.

Is 50 stocks too many in a portfolio? ›

Holding 50 stocks rather than 25 may lower your downside risk somewhat, but it can also reduce your profit potential. And at that point, it may be better to consider investing through an index fund, or even a combination of several sector-based funds.

Is it a good idea to invest in multiple funds? ›

Investing in multiple mutual funds can be a smart move to diversify your portfolio and benefit from professional asset management, but it also carries the potential for over-diversification and higher transaction costs.

Is 35 stocks too many for a portfolio? ›

Private investors with limited time may not want to have this many, but 25-35 stocks is a popular level for many successful investors (for example, Terry Smith) who run what are generally regarded as relatively high concentration portfolios. This bent towards a 30-odd stock portfolio has many proponents.

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