Description of Minimum Volatility Portfolio

This portfolio has been optimized for achieving the lowest possible historical volatility over the analyzed period with the involved assets. As such, it exhibits the least risk of all our portfolios, and is therefore suited especially for very risk adverse investors with conservative growth expectations.

Please note that this portfolio might use leveraged ETF and single stocks. Should these not be allowed in your retirement account please see our 401k and IRS compatible Conservative, Moderate, and Aggressive Risk Portfolios. Contact us for special requirements.

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 lowest volatility.

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 100%)
  • BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy (BUG) (0% to 100%)
  • World Top 4 Strategy (WTOP4) (0% to 100%)
  • Global Sector Rotation Strategy (GSRS) (0% to 100%)
  • Global Market Rotation Strategy (GMRS) (0% to 100%)
  • Maximum Yield Strategy (MYRS) (0% to 100%)
  • NASDAQ 100 Strategy (NAS100) (0% to 100%)
  • Leveraged Gold-Currency Strategy (GLD-USD) (0% to 100%)
  • US Sector Rotation Strategy (USSECT) (0% to 100%)
  • Leveraged Universal Investment Strategy (UISx3) (0% to 100%)
  • US Market Strategy (USMarket) (0% to 100%)
  • Dow 30 Strategy (DOW30) (0% to 100%)
  • Universal Investment Strategy (UIS) (0% to 100%)

Statistics of Minimum Volatility Portfolio (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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the total return, or increase in value of 56% in the last 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (68.2%)
  • Compared with SPY (47.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 29.9% 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (11%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual performance (CAGR) of 9.3% of Minimum Volatility Portfolio is smaller, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) is 9.1%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 13.9% from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the volatility of 5.3% in the last 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.2%)
  • During the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation is 4.7%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.4% from the benchmark.

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:
  • Looking at the downside volatility of 5.9% in the last 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.6%)
  • Looking at downside volatility in of 5.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (14%).

Sharpe:

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.28 in the last 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.64)
  • Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of 1.41 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.92).

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.58) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.16 of Minimum Volatility Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation is 1.21, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.81 from the benchmark.

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:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Index of 2.09 in the last 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (3.95 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of 1.96 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (4 ).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum DrawDown of -6.7 days of Minimum Volatility Portfolio is larger, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -5.2 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) in days.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of Minimum Volatility Portfolio is 252 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 252 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 131 days from the benchmark.

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 Minimum Volatility Portfolio is 59 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (39 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days below previous high is 61 days, which is greater, thus worse than the value of 33 days from the benchmark.

Performance of Minimum Volatility Portfolio (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Minimum Volatility Portfolio
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Allocations

Returns of Minimum Volatility Portfolio (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Minimum Volatility 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.