Types of Portfolio Management: Pros and Cons

Every investor wants to be successful. But with several types of portfolio investment strategies available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Also, if you make the wrong choice, your investments could suffer. That is why it’s important to be equipped with the right information on the different portfolio management types. 

Portfolio management is like a toolbox, each type a different tool. So, you must discover which tool or investment strategy is best for you. And that is what we hope to do with this article. We will guide you through the pros and cons of different portfolio management types so you can make the right decisions. 

By the end, you will be equipped enough to make the right choice for your financial future. So, buckle up, and let’s navigate the investment world together!

Types of Portfolio Management

There are several portfolio management strategies. Here are some of the most common ones:

Active Portfolio Management 

Active portfolio management, AKA stock picking, is a strategy that relies on fund managers buying actively and selling within their portfolio to outperform others on the market. 

This strategy relies on extensive research, market analysis, and the portfolio manager’s ability to recognize underappreciated stocks with the potential to grow. 

These people monitor the market trends and news constantly so they can make the most informed investment decisions. They notice fluctuations and are always seeking to make profits on short-term opportunities. But, is this strategy always successful?

It depends on your perspective. The beauty of active management is the likelihood of increased profits, but it comes with a higher risk and higher costs. So, is the potential reward worth the added risk and expenses? That is yours to decide. 



  • Active management offers the potential for greater returns than passive strategies.
  • Managers can quickly react to market trends and news, adapt, and minimize losses.
  • Portfolios can be tailored to individual investor preferences and risk tolerances.
  • Managers actively monitor investment portfolios, which can help protect against market downturns.
  • Active management is more expensive due to the frequent buying and selling of securities.
  • Consistently beating the market is something many active managers fail to do. Even skilled managers can have off years.
  • Frequent trading can lead to higher capital gains taxes for investors.
  • Attempting to time the market can be challenging. Poor timing decisions can lead to significant losses.
  • Depending on the manager’s strategy, there may be less diversification in the portfolio. This is risky.

Passive Portfolio Management

Passive portfolio management takes a different approach. It involves trying to match the market’s performance rather than trying to outperform it. Sounds simple, right?

Investors who prefer passive management usually use exchange-traded funds or index mutual funds that function like the chosen index’s holdings. The funds make it easier to diversify across various assets and lessen the risk. 

The primary advantage of passive management compared to active is the lower fees. What does this mean? It means investing will require less research and trading. It is an approach for those who prefer a hands-off, low-cost strategy but may not satisfy those who are actively seeking profits. 



  • Passive management is less expensive compared to active strategies because it involves less trading.
  • It aims to match the performance of a chosen market index, which makes it more consistent.
  • Passive portfolios mostly include a broad range of assets, offering diversification and reduced risk.
  • It’s a straightforward strategy that requires less time and expertise to implement.
  • Passive management does not seek to outperform the market. This means investors may miss out on potential high returns during bull markets.
  • It doesn’t actively adjust to changing market conditions, potentially exposing investors to significant downturns.
  • If the chosen benchmark index performs poorly, passive portfolios will also suffer.
  • Passive strategies may not optimize tax management as actively managed portfolios can.

Tactical Asset Allocation

This sounds a bit intriguing. It is a strategy that adapts to short market conditions, but how does it work? In tactical asset allocation, investors are constantly monitoring the market’s ups and downs. When they spot opportunities or risks, they adapt and adjust their portfolio accordingly. 

For example, if there is an economic downturn, they might shift to safer assets like bonds. When they see a bull market incoming, they could increase conversion to high-growth stocks. Sounds like staying one step ahead, right?

However, it also comes with its challenges. The market is dynamic, so timing it can be tricky. Moreover, it’s easy to make mistakes. Hence, if you are not one who closely follows the market trends, then this strategy might not be for you.

Certainly, here are the pros and cons of Tactical Asset Allocation:



  • Tactical asset allocation allows for flexibility in responding to changing market conditions and economic trends.
  • By adjusting asset allocations strategically, it may capture short-term opportunities for higher returns.
  • Tactical allocation portfolio management helps to protect a portfolio during bear markets by shifting to more defensive assets.
  • It provides an active approach without the high turnover associated with some other active strategies.
  • Accurately predicting market shifts and economic trends is difficult, and incorrect timing decisions can lead to losses.
  • Frequent adjustments can result in higher trading costs and potential tax implications.
  • It may lead to excessive trading, which can affect returns through transaction costs and taxes.
  • Tactical allocation strategies can vary in performance, and it may be challenging to find a consistent performer.

Discretionary Portfolio Management

This strategy involves employing professional investment portfolio managers and conferring them the authority to make your investment decisions. These experts are allowed to buy and sell assets within the portfolio without requiring approval for each trade. 

But how do they know what to do? Discretionary managers are learned and they make decisions based on their understanding of the investor’s risk tolerance and financial goals. They offer a lot of advantages because their expertise speaks for time and they also help to save time. However, management fees might be too costly depending on the manager’s skill. 

It’d mean less though, if they are trustworthy and capable. You must also be comfortable letting someone else manage your investments. This strategy is best for those who prefer to not have hands in how their investments run and put their faith in the manager’s ability. If you do not, you can opt for non-discretionary portfolio management. Here, the portfolio manager advises the client on investment decisions but does not have direct authority to execute trades.



  • It relieves investors of the need to closely monitor and make individual investment decisions.
  • Managers can tailor portfolios to align with the investor’s financial goals and preferences.
  • Managers can make adjustments in response to changing market conditions and opportunities.
  • Discretionary management often comes with management fees, which can eat into returns over time.
  • Investors relinquish control over individual investment decisions, relying on the manager’s choices.
  • The success of discretionary management depends on the skill and performance of the portfolio manager, which can vary widely.
  • Some managers may prioritize commissions or fees over the best interests of the client.

Quantitative Portfolio Management 

This method depends on mathematical models and data evaluation to make the best investment choices. They employ factors like price-to-earnings ratio and market volatility to choose assets and optimize portfolios. So, does this mathematical method eliminate the chance of errors?

One advantage it provides is objectivity. Emotions do not cloud machines, but you must also know that it is not error-free. The market, as we know, is dynamic and unpredictable. Hence, this strategy is preferable for those who trust numbers more than their gut feelings and are lovers of data analysis. 



  • Quantitative management involves using statistical analysis to inform investment decisions. It makes it easier to identify trends.
  • Quantitative models apply the same rules consistently and can help in discipline.
  • These strategies often diversify across a wide range of assets and that can help reduce risk.
  • Quantitative models depend on past data, and they may not be able to address new problems.
  • Developing and maintaining effective quantitative models can be complex and require significant computational resources.
  • Excessive reliance on models can lead to losses if the models are flawed or if they fail to adapt to changing market conditions.


There are perhaps too many choices in the vast realm of portfolio management for anyone to not know which to pick. However, each approach comes with its own set of benefits and downsides. So, which path suits you best?

Active management is high-rewarding, but can you bear the risks and fees? Passive strategies are simple to understand, but are you fine with long-term stability? Would you not want to grow?

Are you comfortable surrendering control over decisions in discretionary management? In the end, the choice hinges on what you can accept, your risk tolerance, and which strategy you believe to be the best. So, whichever strategy you decide to pick, ensure you make an informed decision.

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