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Reading 39  Portfolio Management: An Overview Intro
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In this reading we explain why the portfolio approach is important to all types of investors in achieving their financial goals. We compare the financial needs of different types of individual and institutional investors. After we outline the steps in the portfolio management process, we compare and contrast the types of investment management products that are available to investors and how they apply to the portfolio approach.

One of the biggest challenges faced by individuals and institutions is to decide how to invest for future needs. For individuals, the goal might be to fund retirement needs. For such institutions as insurance companies, the goal is to fund future liabilities in the form of insurance claims, whereas endowments seek to provide income to meet the ongoing needs of such institutions as universities. Regardless of the ultimate goal, all face the same set of challenges that extend beyond just the choice of what asset classes to invest in. They ultimately center on formulating basic principles that determine how to think about investing. One important question is: Should we invest in individual securities, evaluating each in isolation, or should we take a portfolio approach? By “portfolio approach,” we mean evaluating individual securities in relation to their contribution to the investment characteristics of the whole portfolio. In the following section, we illustrate a number of reasons why a diversified portfolio perspective is important.
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