By Adedapo Adesanya

Real estate portfolio delivered the best return for investors on US stocks and investment platform, Risevest, in 2022, with a 15.6 per cent return on investment (RoI).

In its Investment Wrapped: A Look At Our Investment Journey in 2022 newsletter, seen by Business Post, the company said that the year’s investment was actively affected by inflation and the measures to tackle it.

The company, despite the tough year, paid out $23.2 million to users while 109,800 plans were created while its members in its investment club grew to 15,100.

“All the monetary easing that central banks worldwide did in response to COVID led to the worst inflation numbers in over 40 years. US inflation peaked at 9.1%, and the aggressive increase in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks led to the global increase in the cost of capital,” it explained.

It added that although inflation in the world’s largest economy dropped as rate hikes hit 5 per cent, the increased rates and higher cost of capital led to a massive drop in the valuations of stocks and other assets, leading to some of the worst stock markets drop in recent history.

This was coupled with the energy and wheat crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the meltdown in the crypto industry.

The company revealed that real estate markets were strong for most of the year until the final quarter, delivering double-digit returns for the Rise portfolio.

Also, energy commodities were up in the review year, and energy stocks like ExxonMobil defied the downturn and gained 70 per cent, adding that, “all of that was overshadowed by what has been the 7th worst performance of the stock markets ever in history.”

After the real estate market, fixed income delivered a 10 per cent return for the year, providing much-needed returns to users and balancing out the losses from stocks that fell 22 per cent in the year.

Speaking on moves it made, the company, in the newsletter, revealed that it introduced Airbnb to its portfolio based on its seasonal advantage and consumer-driven demand.

“For real estate, we introduced Airbnb rentals to our portfolio. While they are much more hands-on than our traditional rentals, their returns, even after expenses, are much higher, making it well worth the experience.

“However, we will continue to invest in Airbnb rentals as a smaller component of our real estate strategy due to their seasonality and the risk of changes in consumer behaviour,” parts of the article read.

For stocks, the company noted that it exited companies without either significant growth or cash-flow generation capabilities and, moving forward, will prioritise defensive companies with strong demand profiles and solid balance sheets.

“We held onto some tech companies like Facebook (Meta) and Google, who still present a lot of value despite deep sentiment against them, and we added new positions in both short and long-term bets that will pay off when stocks rebound.”

For the fixed-income portfolio, the overall fixed-income market saw relatively stable returns, with the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index returning 4.26 per cent and our portfolio delivering 10 per cent for the year.

“Our portfolio has a good representation of (third-party provided) consumer credit and mortgage-backed fixed-income assets and an increasingly smaller position in emerging market sovereign debt. Despite a tough market position, credit and debt profiles remain relatively stable.

“Also, with higher interest rates, it’s becoming increasingly possible to move up the risk ladder into even safer fixed-income assets without sacrificing returns, which is great news,” it said.

Presenting its outlook for the year, it said that looking at a possible recession, weakened demand, and a lean global supply chain, it expects a tougher first half and advised more people to “keep their budgets lean, emergency funds funded, and their investment plans disciplined.”

Product-wise, Risevest said “multi-year asset class plans are on the way, as well as varied account types. Multi-country support and a slew of new features, including dark mode, potential localised offerings, and more personalization, should also be expected to support our users’ financial journeys and unlock more wealth-creating opportunities for all Risers.”