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 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 of 85.3% in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (64%)
  • Compared with SPY (51.6%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 45.5% is smaller, thus worse.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (10.4%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.1% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is higher, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 13.3%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 14.9% 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark SPY (13.4%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 6.3% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 6.1% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to SPY (12.5%).

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 (14.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the downside risk of 7.1% of Conservative Risk Portfolio is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with SPY (14%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside deviation of 7.1% is smaller, thus better.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the Sharpe Ratio of 1.69 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.59)
  • Compared with SPY (1) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 1.76 is higher, thus better.

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:
  • Looking at the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.5 in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.54)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 1.54, which is larger, thus better than the value of 0.89 from the benchmark.

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:
  • The Downside risk index over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 1.3 , which is smaller, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (3.99 ) in the same period.
  • Compared with SPY (4.04 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 1.33 is smaller, thus better.

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:
  • The maximum DrawDown over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is -6.2 days, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-19.3 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley is -4.9 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). 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:
  • Looking at the maximum days below previous high of 100 days in the last 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (187 days)
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 100 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 139 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The average days under water over 5 years of Conservative Risk Portfolio is 20 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (41 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days under water is 20 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 36 days from the benchmark.

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.