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 is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (91.7%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 63.9% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is smaller, thus worse.
  • Compared with SPY (47.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 27.7% is lower, thus worse.

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a useful measure of growth over multiple time periods. It can be thought of as the growth rate that gets you from the initial investment value to the ending investment value if you assume that the investment has been compounding over the time period.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.9%)
  • Compared with SPY (13.9%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% is lower, thus worse.

Volatility:

'In finance, volatility (symbol σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time as measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns. Historic volatility measures a time series of past market prices. Implied volatility looks forward in time, being derived from the market price of a market-traded derivative (in particular, an option). Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the 30 days standard deviation of 6.3% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (19%)
  • Compared with SPY (22.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 7.3% is lower, thus better.

DownVol:

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the downside volatility of 4.6% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.8%)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 5.6%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 16.7% from the benchmark.

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 1.26, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.6) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 0.82, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.5 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.82) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.7 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.68) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.07 is greater, thus better.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.82 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 1.91 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (7.14 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 2.38 is lower, thus better.

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown is defined as the peak-to-trough decline of an investment during a specific period. It is usually quoted as a percentage of the peak value. The maximum drawdown can be calculated based on absolute returns, in order to identify strategies that suffer less during market downturns, such as low-volatility strategies. However, the maximum drawdown can also be calculated based on returns relative to a benchmark index, for identifying strategies that show steady outperformance over time.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is -15.3 days, which is larger, 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 DrawDown of -15.3 days is larger, 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'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 140 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 140 days is larger, thus worse.

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 time in days below previous high water mark of 30 days in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (36 days)
  • Compared with SPY (45 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 38 days is lower, thus better.

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations
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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.