Description

Recommended for: Capital preservation, liquidity and for investors close to or in retirement.

The Conservative Portfolio is appropriate for an investor with a low risk tolerance or a need to make withdrawals over the next 1 to 3 years. Conservative investors are willing to accept lower returns in exchange for lower account drawdowns in periods of market volatility.

To be compatible with most retirement plans, this Portfolio does not include our Maximum Yield Strategy and leveraged Universal Investment Strategy. If you are using a more flexible account you can choose from our unconstrained portfolios in the Portfolio Library.

We offer a portfolio version for 401k plans which do not allow individual stocks - this is set with a moderate risk level, but actually results in a volatility which might also be acceptable for those looking for a conservative set. See details here.

Methodology & Assets
This portfolio is constructed by our proprietary optimization algorithm based on Modern Portfolio Theory pioneered by Nobel Laureate Harry Markowitz. Using historical returns, the algorithm finds the asset allocation that produced the highest return with volatility less than 7%.

While this portfolio provides an optimized asset allocation based on historical returns, your investment objectives, risk profile and personal experience are important factors when deciding on the best investment vehicle for yourself. You can also use the Portfolio Builder or Portfolio Optimizer to construct your own personalized portfolio.

Assets and weight constraints used in the optimizer process:
  • Bond ETF Rotation Strategy (BRS) (0% to 40%)
  • BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy (BUG) (0% to 40%)
  • Global Market Rotation Strategy (GMRS) (0% to 40%)
  • Global Sector Rotation Strategy (GSRS) (0% to 40%)
  • Hedge Strategy (HEDGE) (0% to 40%)
  • Short Term Bond Strategy (STBS) (0% to 50%)
  • Universal Investment Strategy (UIS) (0% to 40%)
  • US Market Strategy (USMarket) (0% to 40%)
  • US Sector Rotation Strategy (USSECT) (0% to 40%)
  • World Top 4 Strategy (WTOP4) (0% to 40%)

Statistics (YTD)

What do these metrics mean? [Read More] [Hide]

TotalReturn:

'Total return, when measuring performance, is the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income including interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends and capital appreciation, representing the change in the market price of an asset.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 46.7%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (123.6%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (89.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 25.5% is lower, thus worse.

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 8% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (17.5%)
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 7.8%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 23.8% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 6.3%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (18.9%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (21.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 7.5% is smaller, thus better.

DownVol:

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The downside risk over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 4.8%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.7%) in the same period.
  • Looking at downside deviation in of 5.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (15.8%).

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The risk / return profile (Sharpe) over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 0.86, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.79) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 0.71, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.98 from the benchmark.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (1.09) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.15 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (1.35) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.93 is smaller, thus worse.

Ulcer:

'Ulcer Index is a method for measuring investment risk that addresses the real concerns of investors, unlike the widely used standard deviation of return. UI is a measure of the depth and duration of drawdowns in prices from earlier highs. Using Ulcer Index instead of standard deviation can lead to very different conclusions about investment risk and risk-adjusted return, especially when evaluating strategies that seek to avoid major declines in portfolio value (market timing, dynamic asset allocation, hedge funds, etc.). The Ulcer Index was originally developed in 1987. Since then, it has been widely recognized and adopted by the investment community. According to Nelson Freeburg, editor of Formula Research, Ulcer Index is “perhaps the most fully realized statistical portrait of risk there is.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Index of 1.96 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (5.59 )
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio is 2.36 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 6.04 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum DrawDown over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is -15.3 days, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -15.3 days is greater, thus better.

MaxDuration:

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs). Many assume Max DD Duration is the length of time between new highs during which the Max DD (magnitude) occurred. But that isn’t always the case. The Max DD duration is the longest time between peaks, period. So it could be the time when the program also had its biggest peak to valley loss (and usually is, because the program needs a long time to recover from the largest loss), but it doesn’t have to be'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum days under water over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 140 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at maximum days under water in of 114 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (119 days).

AveDuration:

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 33 days in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (32 days)
  • Looking at average days under water in of 30 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus worse in comparison to SPY (22 days).

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations
()

Allocations

Returns (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Conservative Risk Portfolio are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.