Description of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy

The BUG strategy is one of our more conservative strategies. The strategy does not attempt to predict prices or the future state of the economy. It holds a broad diversified number of assets that complement each other, each performing well in a different economic environment such as inflation, deflation, growth and stagnation. It is meant for long term, steady growth and low risk.

It inherits part of its logic from Harry Browne's tried-and-true Permanent Portfolio and the publicized workings of the All-Weather portfolio.

Methodology & Assets
  • US Market (SPY: S&P 500 SPDRs)
  • Long Duration Treasuries (TLT: iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond)
  • Gold (GLD: Gold Shares SPDR)
  • Cash or equivalent (SHY: 1-3 Year Treasury Bonds)
  • Convertible Bonds (CWB: SPDR Barclays Convertible Securities)
  • Inflation Protected Treasuries (TIP: iShares TIPS Bond Fund)
  • Foreign Bonds (PCY: PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Bond)

Statistics of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy (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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (13.4%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 41.3% of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 26.2%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 5.8% from the benchmark.

CAGR:

'Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a business and investing specific term for the geometric progression ratio that provides a constant rate of return over the time period. CAGR is not an accounting term, but it is often used to describe some element of the business, for example revenue, units delivered, registered users, etc. CAGR dampens the effect of volatility of periodic returns that can render arithmetic means irrelevant. It is particularly useful to compare growth rates from various data sets of common domain such as revenue growth of companies in the same industry.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 7.2% in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (2.6%)
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 8.1%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 1.9% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'Volatility is a statistical measure of the dispersion of returns for a given security or market index. Volatility can either be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from that same security or market index. Commonly, the higher the volatility, the riskier the security. In the securities markets, volatility is often associated with big swings in either direction. For example, when the stock market rises and falls more than one percent over a sustained period of time, it is called a 'volatile' market.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (3%) in the period of the last 5 years, the volatility of 5.9% of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is larger, thus worse.
  • Compared with AGG (2.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 5.5% is higher, thus worse.

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:
  • The downside volatility over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 6.5%, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark AGG (3.2%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk is 6.4%, which is higher, thus worse than the value of 3% 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (0.02) in the period of the last 5 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.79 of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • Compared with AGG (-0.21) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 1 is higher, thus better.

Sortino:

'The Sortino ratio improves upon the Sharpe ratio by isolating downside volatility from total volatility by dividing excess return by the downside deviation. The Sortino ratio is a variation of the Sharpe ratio that differentiates harmful volatility from total overall volatility by using the asset's standard deviation of negative asset returns, called downside deviation. The Sortino ratio takes the asset's return and subtracts the risk-free rate, and then divides that amount by the asset's downside deviation. The ratio was named after Frank A. Sortino.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.72 in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (0.02)
  • Looking at excess return divided by the downside deviation in of 0.87 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to AGG (-0.2).

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 2.78 in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (1.63 )
  • Compared with AGG (1.9 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 2.71 is higher, thus better.

MaxDD:

'Maximum drawdown measures the loss in any losing period during a fund’s investment record. It is defined as the percent retrenchment from a fund’s peak value to the fund’s valley value. The drawdown is in effect from the time the fund’s retrenchment begins until a new fund high is reached. The maximum drawdown encompasses both the period from the fund’s peak to the fund’s valley (length), and the time from the fund’s valley to a new fund high (recovery). It measures the largest percentage drawdown that has occurred in any fund’s data record.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is -7.6 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark AGG (-4.5 days) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown is -7.1 days, which is lower, thus worse than the value of -4.5 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'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • The maximum time in days below previous high water mark over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 288 days, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark AGG (331 days) in the same period.
  • Compared with AGG (331 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 288 days is lower, thus better.

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (113 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average days under water of 81 days of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the average days below previous high is 75 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 137 days from the benchmark.

Performance of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy
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Allocations

Returns of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy (%)

  • "Year" returns in the table above are not equal to the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy 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.