Description of Short Term Bond Strategy

The Short Term Bond Strategy is essentially a place to park cash that earns interest. When combined with other higher risk strategies it creates a lower risk portfolio and generally improves the portfolio's Sharpe ratio. If your broker pays interest on cash balances that is comparable to the current yield of this strategy, you can choose to keep this allocation in cash instead.

Methodology & Assets

This strategy switches between very low risk ETFs that hold short term corporate or treasury bonds including GSY, MINT and NEAR.

Statistics of Short Term Bond 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Compared with the benchmark TLT (32%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or increase in value of 10.9% of Short Term Bond Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
  • During the last 3 years, the total return, or performance is 8%, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 24.3% 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 2.1% in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark TLT (5.7%)
  • During the last 3 years, the annual performance (CAGR) is 2.6%, which is smaller, thus worse than the value of 7.5% 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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Compared with the benchmark TLT (12.1%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 0.5% of Short Term Bond Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 0.4% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to TLT (10.3%).

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:
  • Looking at the downside deviation of 0.7% in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (13.1%)
  • Compared with TLT (11%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside deviation of 0.6% 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:
  • Compared with the benchmark TLT (0.26) in the period of the last 5 years, the Sharpe Ratio of -0.79 of Short Term Bond Strategy is smaller, thus worse.
  • Compared with TLT (0.49) in the period of the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio of 0.23 is smaller, thus worse.

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.'

Which means for our asset as example:
  • Looking at the downside risk / excess return profile of -0.59 in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark TLT (0.25)
  • During the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile is 0.17, which is lower, thus worse than the value of 0.46 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 TLT (10 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 0.05 of Short Term Bond Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • Compared with TLT (4.26 ) in the period of the last 3 years, the Downside risk index of 0.02 is lower, 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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:
  • Looking at the maximum reduction from previous high of -0.4 days in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (-17.9 days)
  • Looking at maximum DrawDown in of -0.2 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to TLT (-10.7 days).

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:
  • Compared with the benchmark TLT (749 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 43 days of Short Term Bond Strategy is lower, thus better.
  • Looking at maximum time in days below previous high water mark in of 12 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to TLT (385 days).

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.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:
  • Looking at the average days below previous high of 5 days in the last 5 years of Short Term Bond Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark TLT (281 days)
  • Compared with TLT (114 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 3 days is lower, thus better.

Performance of Short Term Bond Strategy (YTD)

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.

Allocations of Short Term Bond Strategy
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Allocations

Returns of Short Term Bond Strategy (%)

  • Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
  • Performance results of Short Term Bond 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.