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 over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 48.3%, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (124.9%) in the same period.
  • Looking at total return in of 28.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (60.5%).

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 performance (CAGR) of 8.2% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (17.6%)
  • Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 8.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (17.1%).

Volatility:

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the historical 30 days volatility 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 (18.7%)
  • Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 7.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (22.6%).

DownVol:

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 4.7% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.5%)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside deviation is 5.7%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 16.4% from the benchmark.

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.81) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.91 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 0.85, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.65 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (1.12) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.21 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is larger, thus better.
  • Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 1.11 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.89).

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.58 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 1.96 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 2.37 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 6.82 from the benchmark.

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -15.3 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -15.3 days, which is larger, thus better than the value of -33.7 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). 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days under water of 140 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is greater, thus worse.
  • Looking at maximum days under water in of 114 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (128 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (32 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 34 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is greater, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days below previous high is 30 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 33 days from the benchmark.

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.