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:
  • The total return, or increase in value over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 41.3%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark AGG (13.4%) in the same period.
  • Compared with AGG (5.8%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 26.2% is greater, thus better.

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 BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 7.2%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark AGG (2.6%) in the same period.
  • During the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) is 8.1%, which is higher, thus better than the value of 1.9% from the benchmark.

Volatility:

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • The 30 days standard deviation over 5 years of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is 5.9%, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark AGG (3%) in the same period.
  • Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 5.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to AGG (2.8%).

DownVol:

'Downside risk is the financial risk associated with losses. That is, it is the risk of the actual return being below the expected return, or the uncertainty about the magnitude of that difference. 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 greater, thus worse compared to the benchmark AGG (3.2%) in the same period.
  • Compared with AGG (3%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside volatility of 6.4% is greater, 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (0.02) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.79 of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is greater, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) is 1, which is greater, thus better than the value of -0.21 from the benchmark.

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 excess return divided by the 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)
  • During the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation is 0.87, which is higher, thus better than the value of -0.2 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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Compared with the benchmark AGG (1.63 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 2.78 of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is higher, thus better.
  • Looking at Downside risk index in of 2.71 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to AGG (1.9 ).

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 AGG (-4.5 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum reduction from previous high of -7.6 days of BUG Permanent Portfolio Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
  • Compared with AGG (-4.5 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum drop from peak to valley of -7.1 days is smaller, thus worse.

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 smaller, thus better.
  • During the last 3 years, the maximum days under water is 288 days, which is lower, thus better than the value of 331 days from the benchmark.

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:
  • 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.