What Is an Alternative Investment? An alternative investment is a financial asset that does not fall into one of the conventional investment categories. Conventional categories include stocks, bonds, and cash. Most alternative investment assets are held by institutional investors or accredited, high-net-worth individuals because of their complex nature, lack of regulation, and degree of risk.
KEY TAKEAWAYS An alternative investment is a financial asset that does not fall into one of the conventional equity/income/cash categories. Private equity or venture capital, hedge funds, real property, commodities, and tangible assets are all examples of alternative investments. Most alternative investments are unregulated by the SEC. Alternative investments tend to be somewhat illiquid. While traditionally for institutional investors and accredited investors, alternative investments have become feasible to retail investors via alt funds, ETFs and mutual funds that build portfolios of alternative assets.