Nancy Bryant of Bryant Financial Advisory has been using international investing since she began in 1990. “I’m heavier in international than I used to be then,” she said. “When I started out, the first [international mutual fund I used] was probably Artisan.”
Bryant reviews client portfolios as if she manages all client assets, even if that’s not the case. “The right hand has to know what the left hand is doing,” she said. “If I’m going to employ a certain asset allocation for that client, I have to know what they’re doing and work around that, unless the client says, ‘Don’t worry about it, and treat it as though you’re the only one investing for me.’”
Whether she’s managing a given investment or not, she’ll tell clients whether she believes it’s suitable, or even suggest that they change it “so I can provide the allocation for the portfolio that I think [they] should have. They’re going to have a diversified portfolio. If they’re relying on my advice, they will have some international,” Bryant said.
That international portion could be as little as 10% to as much as 25%, Bryant said, depending on how conservative or aggressive the client is. But international is vital to how Bryant works. “The whole concept is that when you create a diversified portfolio of asset groups that zig and zag over a particular cycle, what you’re doing is smoothing out the client’s return,” she said.
Although “everything is so interdependent these days, what affects Europe affects the U.S.; what happens to emerging markets happens to us,” Bryant said, “typically international stocks don’t have a complete correlation to U.S. stocks. When the U.S. zigs, maybe international zags a little bit. You want that, because it lowers the overall portfolio risk and smooths out the return over time. That was my main reason for going into international stocks.”