Description of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio

Dr. William Bernstein is a physician and neurologist as well as a financial adviser to high net worth individuals. His smart money portfolio comprises the following fund allocation:

 

40% Vanguard Short Term Investment Grade VFSTX (SCJ, SHY)

15% Vanguard Total Stock Market VTSMX (NYSEARCA:VTI)

10% Vanguard Small Cap Value VISVX (NYSEARCA:VBR)

10% Vanguard Value Index VIVAX (NYSEARCA:VTV)

5% Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock VEIEX (NYSEARCA:VWO)

5% Vanguard European Stock VEURX (NYSEARCA:VEU)

5% Vanguard Pacific Stock VPACX (NYSEARCA:VPL)

5% Vanguard REIT Index VGSIX (RWX, VNQ)

5% Vanguard Small Cap Value NAESX or VTMSX (VB)

 

To summarize:

40% in U.S. equities

10% in international equities

5% in emerging market equities

5% in REITs

40% in fixed income

Statistics of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is %, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (64.1%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (48.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of % is smaller, 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:
  • The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is %, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (10.4%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (14%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of % 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of % of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at volatility in of % in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (12.8%).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The downside volatility over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is %, which is lower, 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 deviation of % 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 risk / return profile (Sharpe) over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is , which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.58) in the same period.
  • Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.9).

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:
  • The downside risk / excess return profile over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is , which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (0.53) in the same period.
  • Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to SPY (0.79).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Index of in the last 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (4.02 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Ratio in of in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (4.09 ).

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.'

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 drop from peak to valley of days of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is days, which is larger, thus better than the value of -19.3 days from the benchmark.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • 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 days of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at maximum days below previous high in of 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 days below previous high over 5 years of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio is days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • Looking at average days below previous high in of days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (35 days).

Performance of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio
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Allocations

Returns of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money Portfolio (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Dr. Bernstein's Smart Money 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.