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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (63%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 81.5% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • Looking at total return, or performance in of 39% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (39.8%).

CAGR:

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (10.3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 12.7% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is larger, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (11.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 11.6% is smaller, 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the volatility of 6.3% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (12.7%) in the period of the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 6.2% is smaller, thus better.

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:
  • Looking at the downside risk of 7.2% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (14.9%)
  • Compared with SPY (14.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 7.1% is smaller, 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.57) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) of 1.61 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is larger, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.73) in the period of the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 1.47 is higher, thus better.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.52) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.42 of Conservative Risk Portfolio is greater, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (0.65) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 1.28 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:
  • Looking at the Ulcer Ratio of 1.39 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (4.01 )
  • Looking at Ulcer Index in of 1.48 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (4.08 ).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum DrawDown over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is -6.2 days, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (-19.3 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -4.9 days is higher, 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). 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:
  • The maximum days under water over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 100 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (187 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high of 100 days is lower, thus better.

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:
  • The average days under water over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 21 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (36 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 23 days is lower, 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.