Visualizing Asset Allocations

The topic for this visualization project focused around investment securities and an exploration proposing a standardized overview of the allocation assets for comparative purposes over 22 years (1993 to 2014). The approved investment vehicle in this project was commingled funds and a breakdown of the data for asset allocations of Stock, Bonds and others were reviewed. The programs used to aid in the creation and visualization of the data was Excel, Open Refine and Tableau public.

Brief discussion of three visualizations that inform/inspired the design.

The initial 3 visualizations used for inspiration and guidance for this project were retrieved from other investment projects also in the finance sector and around the topic of assets. While all three visualizations were not specifically tailored to asset allocations in Stock and Bond securities, understanding current methods and types of visualizations under the topic of assets was an intended exploration. The first 2 visualization are somewhat similar showing charts that reflect asset allocations across regions .The first visualization has to do with a global bar chart displaying the world financial assets(Source:McKinsey Global Institute)


and the second chart reveals assets across continents in this case continent and country (USA and Europe, Source EuroHedge,Hennessee Group LLC)  


The third chart still along the lines of assets deals with allocation in this case Pension asset allocation. This chart is more similar to the chart plotted in this project and deals with the granular makeup of a bar across years.



The 3 visualizations served as inspirations and guides to the layout and visualization of the chart that was to be plotted. The main question was to see the relationship of the three asset securities over time and if possible to see which was most consistently invested in.


Materials including software and datasets used in lab.

To create the chart the dataset used was a commingled fund with asset allocations of stock, bond and other securities from 1993 to 2014. The data set reflected the allocation of funds to these securities with the intention of revealing the aggressive nature of the hedge fund investments toward each security. The data on the excel sheet was first imported to Open Refine to be cleaned  and properly structure the data. First the data cells variables were transposed across the columns into rows . And also the stock was flipped across transpose. Once the cells were in order they were renamed, the money values were given the title asset amounts and the variables allocations. The document was then saved as CSV file and opened in Tableau. In Tableau, the data was then plotted with the asset amounts against the number of years.


Methods used to create visualization.

The values to plot were imported into the Tableau interface. From the dimension section on the Tableau interface the years was dragged into the column bar on top and from the measures section on the Tableau interface the asset amount was dragged into the row. This then created and populated the bar chart visualization. The colors picked for the bar chart tiles were based on the idea of them being a good contrast to help clearly show the differences in the allocation sectors. The Tableau platform is robust and affords for more ways for the information to be displayed to get better insights depending on the information that is being sought after.


Apart from the bar chart, the data was re-visualized and also plotted in percentage to get a better view of an aggregate overview of the data. Each format of plot gives better visual insights and reveals information in clear ways.





The final plot format in this project was a line chart, again like the other 2 plot formats there are strengths to the line chart plot that the other 2 were not that clear in revealing trends, as it has less color fillings as opposed to the bar chart and reveals a clearer flow to the investments over time.



The data was manipulated with various functions that the Tableau platform affords and the most suitable ones that helped explain the investments were chosen and placed in the dashboard.




Results/discussions, including images of embedded visualizations.

The charts that were selected best serve the intent for plotting the asset allocation. The charts gave a clear display of the investment allocations towards, Stocks bonds and other securities from 1993 to 2014 in a clear way easy to follow. While the chart can definitely be broken down into more granular content, these overview display go a long way in starting conversations to help summarize and visualize investments and performances in securities over time. Which is something managers and investors always prefer seeing. Another beautiful things about diverse charts is that they help reveal different things clearly, having strengths the other chart might be weaker at showing. While the charts reveal the fund decided to invest heavily in different securities over time even as investments declined, however the percentage chart helps shows a plunge in the stock investments around 2005 and a steep rise around the same time in other securities. The bonds stayed roughly consistent with an increase in investments towards 2014. The final piece is a dashboard snapshot of all the charts in one layout again Tableau’s robust features enables this great way to summarize the information.


Discussion of future directions.

The allocation of assets is just one of the many profile tiles(tiles are small key characteristics or metrics of an entity within uniform squares that can be combined to identify the performance result of a security) that go into a security profile. This tile could easily be broken down into more granular parts but in this project serves the purpose of showing an overall view of this sector in a quick, clear and understandable manner. These tiles also show characteristics of of a security. The tiles in this project only show the characteristics tiles a more wholistic project would go on to reveal the results as well, preferably in a seperate plotted chart. Future directions could also be to include more info on other tiles that reflect the investments and results of this commingled fund.