The Universal Investment Strategy (UIS) is one of our core investment strategies. It is an evolved, intelligent version of the classic 60/40 equity/bond portfolio. Much like the classic portfolio, UIS holds both the S&P 500 index and bonds. However, UIS can intelligently adapt to current conditions by shifting weight away from stocks in difficult markets and adding weight in bullish markets.

Instead of using simple bond ETF, UIS uses a sub-strategy, called HEDGE, which can choose between different types of safe-heaven ETFs.

The equity/bond (or in our case equity/HEDGE) pair is interesting because most of the time these two asset classes profit from an inverse correlation. If there is a real stock market correction, usually ETFs included in the HEDGE strategy (Treasuries, Gold, etc) are the 'safe' assets where money flows to, providing crash protection.

'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:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (61.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return of 65.3% of Universal Investment Strategy is larger, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (79.4%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return of 47.2% is lower, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the annual performance (CAGR) of 10.6% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (10.1%)
- Looking at compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in of 13.7% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (21.5%).

'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:- The volatility over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 9.3%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (21.5%) in the same period.
- Looking at historical 30 days volatility in of 9.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (21.2%).

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The downside deviation over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 6.7%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (15.5%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (14.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside deviation of 6.5% is lower, thus better.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 0.87, which is larger, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.36) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) is 1.18, which is higher, thus better than the value of 0.9 from the benchmark.

'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 excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.2 in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively higher, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (0.49)
- Compared with SPY (1.35) in the period of the last 3 years, the downside risk / excess return profile of 1.73 is larger, thus better.

'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.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.15 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Index of 4.28 of Universal Investment Strategy is smaller, thus better.
- During the last 3 years, the Ulcer Index is 5.04 , which is lower, thus better than the value of 9.78 from the benchmark.

'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 reduction from previous high over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is -15 days, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Looking at maximum drop from peak to valley in of -12.2 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (-24.5 days).

'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) in days.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 305 days in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (305 days)
- Compared with SPY (305 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum time in days below previous high water mark of 305 days is greater, thus worse.

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Looking at the average days below previous high of 61 days in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to the benchmark SPY (65 days)
- Compared with SPY (80 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the average days below previous high of 81 days is greater, thus worse.

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
[Show Details]

Allocations and holdings shown below are delayed by one month.

Register now to get the current trading allocations.

- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Universal Investment 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.