Description of Conservative Risk Portfolio

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 also offer a version for 401k plans which do not allow individual stocks. See details here.

Methodology & Assets
This portfolio is constructed by our proprietary optimization alogrithm 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 8%.

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%)
  • World Top 4 Strategy (WTOP4) (0% to 40%)
  • Global Sector Rotation Strategy (GSRS) (0% to 40%)
  • Global Market Rotation Strategy (GMRS) (0% to 40%)
  • NASDAQ 100 Strategy (NAS100) (0% to 40%)
  • US Sector Rotation Strategy (USSECT) (0% to 40%)
  • Universal Investment Strategy (UIS) (0% to 40%)
  • US Market Strategy (USMarket) (0% to 40%)
  • Dow 30 Strategy (DOW30) (0% to 40%)
  • Short Term Bond Strategy (STBS) (0% to 50%)

Statistics of Conservative Risk Portfolio (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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (64.1%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 79% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is greater, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (48.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 40.6% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 12.4% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.4%)
  • Compared with SPY (14%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 12% is lower, thus worse.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 6.5%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility is 6.4%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.8% from the benchmark.

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The downside volatility over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 7.3%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.9%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (14.5%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk of 7.3% is lower, thus better.

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio was developed by Nobel laureate William F. Sharpe, and is used to help investors understand the return of an investment compared to its risk. The ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. Subtracting the risk-free rate from the mean return allows an investor to better isolate the profits associated with risk-taking activities. One intuition of this calculation is that a portfolio engaging in 'zero risk' investments, such as the purchase of U.S. Treasury bills (for which the expected return is the risk-free rate), has a Sharpe ratio of exactly zero. Generally, the greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The Sharpe Ratio over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 1.52, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.58) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 1.5, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.9 from the benchmark.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.35 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.53)
  • Compared with SPY (0.79) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 1.31 is larger, thus better.

Ulcer:

'The Ulcer Index is a technical indicator that measures downside risk, in terms of both the depth and duration of price declines. The index increases in value as the price moves farther away from a recent high and falls as the price rises to new highs. The indicator is usually calculated over a 14-day period, with the Ulcer Index showing the percentage drawdown a trader can expect from the high over that period. The greater the value of the Ulcer Index, the longer it takes for a stock to get back to the former high.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The Downside risk index over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 1.49 , which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (4.02 ) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 1.61 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 4.09 from the benchmark.

MaxDD:

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -6.2 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is greater, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -5 days is greater, thus better.

MaxDuration:

'The Maximum Drawdown Duration is an extension of the Maximum Drawdown. However, this metric does not explain the drawdown in dollars or percentages, rather in days, weeks, or months. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 100 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is smaller, thus better.
  • Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 100 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (139 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The average time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 23 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (35 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 25 days is smaller, thus better.

Performance of Conservative Risk Portfolio (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Conservative Risk Portfolio
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Allocations

Returns of Conservative Risk Portfolio (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to 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.