DEFINITION of 'Uniform Prudent Investor Act - UPIA'

An updated trust investment law that reflects the changes that have occurred in investment practice since the late 1960s, specifically with regard to modern portfolio theory.


The Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA) made five fundamental changes to the previous Prudent Investor Act standard. The most important change was that the standard of prudence would henceforth be applied to any investment in the context of the total portfolio, rather than to individual investments. Another key change was the extension of permission to the trustee to delegate investment management functions, subject to appropriate safeguards; such delegation was expressly forbidden by the former trust law.

BREAKING DOWN 'Uniform Prudent Investor Act - UPIA'

By taking the total portfolio approach and eliminating category restrictions on different types of investments, the UPIA fostered a greater degree of diversification in investment portfolios. It also made it possible for trustees to include in their portfolios investments such as derivatives, commodities and futures. While these investments individually have a relatively higher degree of risk, they could potentially reduce overall portfolio risk and boost returns when considered in a total portfolio context.

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