More North American investors would prevail if they diversified their retirement portfolios, according to The Globe and Mail.

“Any North American investor should have a foreign equity exposure that is, at minimum, 25% and at a maximum around 50%,” stated Michele Gambera, chief economist at Chicago-based Ibbotson Associates.

Within North America, a portfolio should be overweight in U.S. stocks compared to Canadian.

Investors all over the world, not just in Canada have a “home bias” and invest to much in their home market, Gambera told an audience at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Toronto this week.

“International diversification is a very handy thing,” he said, adding that it boosts returns and reduces risk over the long term.

Gambera recognizes that there are valid reasons for investors to be biased toward their own country stocks. Foreign stocks usually carry higher transaction costs, and sometimes there are little advantages to buying a foreign stock that has a similar business to a domestic stock.

He acknowledged that his long-term diversification strategy can cost investors in the short term by failing to maximize their exposure to the hottest markets. However, Gambera said there is significant risk in trying to time geographic weightings in an attempt to cash in on out performers.

“The safer position is the diversified position,” he said.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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