Reviewed by Sujaini | Updated on Sep 28, 2020

What are Holdings?

Holdings are the contents of an individual or entity's investment portfolio, such as a pension fund or a mutual fund. Portfolio holdings may include a wide range of investment products, ranging from bonds, stocks, and mutual funds to futures, options, Equity Traded Funds (ETFs), and relatively esoteric instruments, such as private equity and hedge funds.

Breaking Down Holdings

A portfolio's number and types of holdings contribute to its degree of diversification. A mix of stocks across different sectors, including bonds of different maturities, and other investments would suggest a well-diversified portfolio. On the other hand, concentrated holdings in a handful of single-sector stocks indicate a very limited diversification portfolio.

Acquisition and Diversification of Holdings

A portfolio's proportion of securities has a significant impact on its overall return. The performance of the largest holdings has a greater impact on portfolio return than the portfolio's small or marginal holdings. Investors regularly check top money managers' portfolio lists to piggyback on their companies.

These investors usually seek to replicate the best money managers' trading activity by purchasing stocks where the manager has initiated a long position or significantly added to an existing position and selling positions where the manager has exited a stake.

For an average investor, this strategy may not always be successful, given the considerable lag between the period when the money manager or fund affected the trades and the time when the holdings of the fund are disseminated to the general public.

Holding Companies

Holding companies are a concept that is closely related. In some cases, investors may choose a Limited Liability Company (LLC) to own their holdings. We can do this to reduce their personal risk exposure, decrease their taxes, or pool their savings with other people, such as business associates or family members.

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