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, 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:
  • Looking at the total return, or performance of 38.1% in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (16.2%)
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value is 25.6%, which is larger, thus better than the value of 13.5% from the benchmark.

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:
  • Looking at the annual return (CAGR) of 6.7% in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (3%)
  • Looking at annual performance (CAGR) in of 7.9% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to AGG (4.3%).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (3.1%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 6% of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is higher, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the volatility is 5.1%, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 2.9% from the benchmark.

DownVol:

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

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The downside volatility over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 6.6%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark AGG (3.4%) in the same period.
  • Compared with AGG (3.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 5.9% is larger, thus worse.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (0.17) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.7 of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 1.06 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to AGG (0.63).

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the downside risk / excess return profile of 0.63 in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively larger, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (0.16)
  • During the last 3 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation is 0.92, which is higher, thus better than the value of 0.59 from the benchmark.

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 2.83 in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark AGG (1.63 )
  • Compared with AGG (1.38 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 2.71 is larger, thus worse.

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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The maximum DrawDown 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 reduction from previous high is -7.1 days, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of -3.5 days from the benchmark.

MaxDuration:

'The Maximum 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. It is the length of time the account was in the Max Drawdown. A Max Drawdown measures a retrenchment from when an equity curve reaches a new high. It’s the maximum an account lost during that retrenchment. This method is applied because a valley can’t be measured until a new high occurs. Once the new high is reached, the percentage change from the old high to the bottom of the largest trough is recorded.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (331 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 288 days of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with AGG (331 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum days under water of 288 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 82 days in the last 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy, we see it is relatively smaller, thus better in comparison to the benchmark AGG (114 days)
  • During the last 3 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark is 73 days, which is smaller, thus better than the value of 88 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 (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal 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.