Winning the Long-Term Game: Diversification vs. Concentration

WealthBasketOct 20, 2023

As you start your investment journey, one of the most significant decisions you’ll face is selecting the right investment options for your portfolio. The logical step is to identify your investor profile and opt for investments that align with your risk tolerance, financial goals, and investment time frame. 

However, when it comes to deciding where to allocate your funds, you’ll have to decide if you want to concentrate and diversify your portfolio. 

In this article, we will clear your doubts about the concepts of concentration strategy, concentration risk, diversification strategy, and the various types of diversification strategies. 

What is a Concentration Strategy?

Concentration, in terms of investing, is when an individual prefers a lower degree of diversification in their portfolio with just a few chosen assets or sectors. Putting most of the resources into a small number of carefully chosen investments forms the core of this strategy, with the expectation of achieving better returns.

Consider this an example, investing with a concentration strategy might involve putting a big chunk of the money into a few real estate properties, expecting better returns from those specific choices.

Investors who seek market-bearing returns and are willing to accept higher risks often opt for a concentrated portfolio. If these investments don’t perform as expected, it can lead to significant losses. This choice introduces concentration risk into their investments.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Concentrated Portfolio

A concentrated portfolio comes with both upside and downside, the following points should be considered before adopting this investment strategy.

Advantages of Concentrated Portfolio

  • Concentrated portfolios can yield higher returns because a few well-chosen investments can significantly impact overall performance
  • Fewer assets to monitor allow investors to understand chosen companies or industries better, leading to informed decisions
  • Managing a concentrated portfolio is less time-consuming, enabling focus on in-depth research and analysis

Disadvantages of Concentrated Portfolio

  • A concentrated portfolio carries higher risk levels, and poor performance in selected investments can lead to significant losses
  • A concentrated portfolio is more sensitive to market fluctuations due to its lack of diversification
  • By concentrating resources in a few assets, investors miss growth opportunities in other sectors or asset classes

What is a Diversification Strategy?

Diversification in investment is a strategy where an investor spreads their money across different types of assets, like stocks, bonds, and real estate or different sectors. By doing so, investors aim to reduce risk. This strategy helps investors avoid putting all their money into one type of investment, and it seeks to achieve a balanced mix of potential gains and losses.

Diversification Strategies: Methods to Spread Risk

Diversification strategies can be classified based on how investors diversify their portfolios:

  • Asset Classes

Investors include various asset classes like stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities to spread risk.

  • Industries Mix

 Investing in stocks from different sectors, like FMCG, IT, and Realty, reduces risk.

  • Individual Stocks

Holding diverse stocks that react differently to market conditions is another approach.

  • Geographical Dimensions

Diversifying globally alongside domestic investments, for example, an Indian investor investing in Indian and U.S. stocks.

Advantages of Diversification

Presented here are a variety of the positive aspects of diversification: 

  • Risk Reduction

Diversification helps spread risk across investments, reducing the impact of a single investment’s poor performance.

  • Portfolio Stability

It can enhance returns by investing in different asset classes with varying performance cycles.

  • Enhanced Returns

By investing in different asset classes with varying performance cycles, it can enhance overall returns.

Disadvantages of Diversification

Outlined here are diverse downsides to diversification:

  • Limiting High Returns

Diversification reduces risk, but it can also limit the potential for exceptionally high profits.

  • Impact on Portfolio Performance

When investors include underperforming assets in a diversified portfolio, it can drag down the overall returns.

  • Continuous Monitoring and Research

To ensure the best performance, maintaining a diversified portfolio requires ongoing monitoring and research of the stocks in the portfolio.

Comparison of Concentration Vs Diversification

Here’s a breakdown of the comparison between concentration and diversification:

AspectPortfolio ConcentrationPortfolio Diversification
Risk ExpectationHigher concentrated risk in a few assetsLower spread risk across diverse assets
Return ExpectationHigher potential for significant gains or (losses)Moderately stable with reduced potential for extreme gains or (losses)
VolatilityMore sensitive to individual asset performanceLess sensitive as assets are diversified in different sectors
Need for Market TimingRequires precise timing for selected assets to avoid huge drawdowns in the portfolioLess emphasis on precise market timing and focus on longer term horizon
RebalancingHigher frequency since the downside of going wrong is highLower frequency because risk is diversified
Transaction CostFrequent trading potentially higher transaction costsLower turnover reduced transaction costs

Final Thoughts

Finding the right balance between risk and reward is an ongoing challenge for investors. Concentration involves focusing on a select few assets for potentially higher returns, though it comes with concentration risk. 

In contrast, diversification spreads investments across various assets, reducing risk but possibly limiting profits. Your choice depends on your goals and risk tolerance, as both strategies offer unique pros and cons.


  1. Which portfolio strategy is better diversification or concentration?

The right strategy depends on your financial objectives, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. Risk-averse investors often opt for diversification, while those with deep industry knowledge may choose concentration.

  1. Why is diversifying your portfolio a wise choice? 

Both cautious and moderate-risk investors often prefer diversification to mitigate concentration risk. One significant advantage of a diversified portfolio is that it isn’t reliant on a single asset class, or sector for its performance.

  1. Can diversification protect against economic downturns?

While it can mitigate risk, diversification doesn’t guarantee immunity to economic downturns. However, it can soften the impact on your portfolio.

  1. How often should I review my portfolio’s diversification?

One can review their portfolio regularly, at least annually, or when significant life events or excessive market volatility.

  1. Can I combine elements of both strategies in my portfolio?

Yes, many investors choose a hybrid approach by combining both concentrated and diversified assets to balance risk and returns. Following a diversified approach for their core portfolio but concentrating on high-risk bets in satellite portfolios.