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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the total return of 71.2% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively smaller, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (103.4%)
  • Compared with SPY (33.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 18.6% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 11.4%, which is lower, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (15.3%) in the same period.
  • Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 5.8% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (10.1%).

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:
  • The historical 30 days volatility over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 7.2%, which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (20.9%) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (17.3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the 30 days standard deviation of 4.6% is lower, thus better.

DownVol:

'The downside volatility is similar to the volatility, or standard deviation, but only takes losing/negative periods into account.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (14.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 5.2% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (12.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 3.1% is lower, thus better.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 1.23 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.61)
  • Looking at ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) in of 0.72 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.44).

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 (0.85) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.71 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is larger, thus better.
  • Looking at ratio of annual return and downside deviation in of 1.08 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.63).

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:
  • The Downside risk index over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 2.07 , which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (9.32 ) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 1.88 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 10 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 (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -14.8 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley is -5.2 days, which is larger, thus better than the value of -24.5 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'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 227 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 227 days, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 488 days from the benchmark.

AveDuration:

'The Average 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. 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 43 days of Conservative Risk Portfolio is smaller, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 54 days, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 180 days from the benchmark.

Performance (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations ()

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 and do not account for slippage, fees or taxes.
  • Results may be based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.