130-30 Strategy

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on July 12, 2023

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What Is the 130-30 Strategy?

The 130-30 strategy is a financial approach that allows investors to maximize returns through a balanced combination of long and short positions.

This portfolio construction technique involves taking a 130% long position and a 30% short position, effectively leaving the investor with a net exposure of 100%. The aim is to leverage the benefits of both long and short investing while simultaneously mitigating the risks.

In portfolio management, the 130-30 strategy plays a crucial role in creating diversified portfolios with enhanced return potential. By incorporating short selling, investors can take advantage of mispriced securities that are expected to depreciate.

The revenue generated from short selling is then reinvested in attractive long positions, amplifying the earning potential of the portfolio.

How the 130-30 Strategy Works

The 130-30 strategy is a unique investment approach that enables investors to seek additional returns through short selling while maintaining a general long exposure to the market. Here's how it works:

Long Position

The investor starts by selecting securities that they believe are undervalued or have strong future growth potential. They then take a long position in these securities. In a 130-30 strategy, this long position is typically 130% of the total portfolio value.

This percentage is higher than in traditional portfolios to accommodate the proceeds from the short sales that are reinvested in long positions.

Short Position

Simultaneously, the investor identifies securities that they believe are overpriced or are likely to decrease in value. They borrow these securities and sell them in the open market, effectively creating a short position.

In a 130-30 strategy, this short position is 30% of the total portfolio value. The proceeds from these short sales are then used to fund additional long positions.

Net Exposure

The net exposure of the portfolio in a 130-30 strategy is 100%. This is calculated by subtracting the short position from the long position (130% - 30% = 100%). This means that the portfolio is still generally invested in the market, similar to a traditional long-only portfolio.

Profit Potential

The goal of the 130-30 strategy is to generate higher returns than a traditional long-only portfolio. This is achieved by profiting from both the long positions (when the value of the securities increases) and the short positions (when the value of the shorted securities decreases).

The additional long positions funded by the short sales provide an opportunity to further enhance returns.

Risk Management

While the 130-30 strategy can potentially lead to higher returns, it also involves higher risks. If the shorted securities increase in value or the long positions decrease in value, the portfolio could incur losses.

Therefore, the success of a 130-30 strategy heavily depends on the investor's skill in selecting the right securities for both the long and short positions.

Advantages of the 130-30 Strategy

Enhanced Return Potential

The 130-30 strategy aims to provide enhanced return potential by allowing investors to capitalize on both positive and negative market trends. By taking short positions, investors can profit from stocks that are expected to decline in value, thus generating additional returns.

This ability to go short provides an opportunity to benefit from falling markets or specific sectors that may be underperforming.

Increased Diversification

The 130-30 strategy allows for increased diversification in a portfolio. By incorporating short positions, investors can potentially reduce concentration risk and diversify across a broader range of securities.

This can help mitigate the impact of individual stock-specific risks and enhance the overall risk-adjusted returns of the portfolio.

Risk Management

The 130-30 strategy offers potential risk management benefits. By actively managing both long and short positions, investors can potentially hedge their exposure to market downturns.

The short positions can act as a hedge against market declines, helping to offset losses from the long positions during bearish market conditions. This risk management aspect can help investors navigate volatile market environments more effectively.

Active Investment Approach

The 130-30 strategy follows an active investment approach, allowing for dynamic decision-making based on market conditions and fundamental analysis.

By actively managing the long and short positions, investors can adjust their portfolio holdings based on their assessments of individual stocks, sectors, and market trends. This flexibility provides the opportunity to capitalize on mispriced securities and take advantage of market inefficiencies.

Potential for Alpha Generation

The 130-30 strategy aims to generate alpha, which refers to the excess return generated above the market benchmark. By carefully selecting both long and short positions, investors can seek to outperform the broader market.

The ability to go short and profit from stocks expected to decline enhances the potential for alpha generation. This can help investors achieve superior risk-adjusted returns and potentially outperform passive investment strategies.

Challenges Associated With the 130-30 Strategy


The 130-30 strategy is a sophisticated investment approach that requires a high level of expertise in security analysis, risk management, and portfolio construction.

Implementing this strategy effectively requires a deep understanding of fundamental analysis, market dynamics, and the ability to accurately identify mispriced securities.

Investors must be prepared to devote significant time and resources to research, monitoring, and active management of the portfolio.

Potential for Higher Costs

The 130-30 strategy may involve higher costs compared to traditional long-only strategies. Short-selling involves borrowing stocks and paying borrowing costs, which can increase transaction costs and reduce overall returns.

Additionally, the active management and frequent trading associated with the strategy may result in higher brokerage and trading fees. These costs can erode the potential gains from the strategy, especially for smaller portfolios.

Increased Volatility

The 130-30 strategy introduces additional volatility to the portfolio. Short-selling involves unlimited loss potential, as stock prices can theoretically rise indefinitely. The short positions can lead to higher portfolio volatility and increased exposure to market downturns.

While the strategy aims to mitigate risk through active management, there is no guarantee that it will effectively navigate all market conditions.

Limited Availability of Borrowed Stocks

Short-selling requires access to borrowed stocks. However, the availability of certain stocks for short-selling may be limited, especially in less liquid or highly regulated markets. This can impact the execution of short positions and limit the strategy's ability to fully capitalize on market opportunities.

Moreover, the cost of borrowing shares can increase during periods of high demand, further impacting the strategy's profitability.

Manager Skill and Performance Risk

The success of the 130-30 strategy heavily relies on the skill and expertise of the portfolio manager. The ability to accurately identify mispriced securities, manage risk effectively, and make timely investment decisions is crucial.

The performance of the strategy is directly linked to the manager's skill, and poor decision-making or misjudgment can lead to subpar returns or even losses. Investors should carefully evaluate the track record and experience of the portfolio manager before investing in a 130-30 strategy.

Benefits and Challenges Associated With the 130-30 Strategy

Implementing the 130-30 Strategy

Step-By-Step Process of Implementing the 130-30 Strategy

Implementing a 130-30 strategy requires careful planning and rigorous analysis. It begins with the identification of securities to short and long. Next, the investor shorts the identified securities, amounting to 30% of the portfolio value.

The proceeds from this short sale are then used to purchase additional securities for the long position, pushing the total long position to 130% of the portfolio value.

Identifying Suitable Investments for the 130-30 Strategy

Identifying suitable investments for a 130-30 strategy involves comprehensive market research and analysis. Investors must be able to accurately assess the value of securities to identify those that are overvalued (for the short position) and undervalued (for the long position).

This involves a deep understanding of financial markets, robust analytical skills, and an ability to interpret complex financial data.

Role of Financial Advisors in Implementing the 130-30 Strategy

Financial advisors can play a crucial role in implementing a 130-30 strategy, particularly for investors who lack the expertise or time to carry out the necessary analysis.

Advisors can provide invaluable guidance on the selection of suitable securities, the balancing of long and short positions, and the ongoing management of the portfolio.

130-30 Strategy vs Other Investment Strategies

130-30 Strategy vs Long-Only Strategy

Compared to a long-only strategy, the 130-30 strategy offers potential for higher returns due to the added short position. However, it also introduces additional risks and requires a higher level of skill and understanding of the markets.

While long-only strategies can be effective for conservative investors with a long-term perspective, the 130-30 strategy can offer more active investors an opportunity to outperform the market.

130-30 Strategy vs Pure Long-Short Strategy

Unlike a pure long-short strategy where the aim is to maintain a net-zero market exposure, the 130-30 strategy maintains a net 100% long exposure. This allows investors to benefit from overall market growth while still taking advantage of mispriced securities.

However, similar to a pure long-short strategy, the 130-30 strategy requires rigorous analysis and skill in security selection.

Final Thoughts

The 130-30 strategy is a portfolio construction technique that combines long and short positions to potentially enhance returns and manage risk. By incorporating short selling, investors can benefit from both positive and negative market trends, potentially generating additional returns.

The strategy offers benefits such as enhanced return potential, increased diversification, risk management, active investment approach, and potential for alpha generation.

However, there are challenges associated with the strategy, including complexity, potential for higher costs, increased volatility, limited availability of borrowed stocks, and manager skill and performance risk.

Implementing the 130-30 strategy requires careful planning, thorough analysis, and expertise in security selection. Financial advisors can play a valuable role in guiding investors through the implementation and ongoing management of the strategy.

It's important to carefully evaluate the suitability of the 130-30 strategy based on individual investment goals, risk tolerance, and resources, and to seek professional advice when considering its implementation.

130-30 Strategy FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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