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.

'The total return on a portfolio of investments takes into account not only the capital appreciation on the portfolio, but also the income received on the portfolio. The income typically consists of interest, dividends, and securities lending fees. This contrasts with the price return, which takes into account only the capital gain on an investment.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (109.2%) in the period of the last 5 years, the total return, or performance of 82.4% of Universal Investment Strategy is lower, thus worse.
- Looking at total return, or increase in value in of 22.2% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to SPY (33.3%).

'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 compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8% in the last 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy, we see it is relatively lower, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (15.9%)
- Compared with SPY (10.1%) in the period of the last 3 years, the annual return (CAGR) of 6.9% is lower, thus worse.

'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 SPY (20.9%) in the period of the last 5 years, the historical 30 days volatility of 9.4% of Universal Investment Strategy is lower, thus better.
- Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 8.6% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (17.6%).

'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.'

Which means for our asset as example:- The downside risk over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 6.7%, which is lower, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (14.9%) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the downside risk is 6%, which is lower, thus better than the value of 12.3% from the benchmark.

'The Sharpe ratio (also known as the Sharpe index, the Sharpe measure, and the reward-to-variability ratio) is a way to examine the performance of an investment by adjusting for its risk. The ratio measures the excess return (or risk premium) per unit of deviation in an investment asset or a trading strategy, typically referred to as risk, named after William F. Sharpe.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The ratio of return and volatility (Sharpe) over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 1.1, which is higher, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (0.64) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the Sharpe Ratio is 0.52, which is greater, thus better than the value of 0.43 from the benchmark.

'The Sortino ratio measures the risk-adjusted return of an investment asset, portfolio, or strategy. It is a modification of the Sharpe ratio but penalizes only those returns falling below a user-specified target or required rate of return, while the Sharpe ratio penalizes both upside and downside volatility equally. Though both ratios measure an investment's risk-adjusted return, they do so in significantly different ways that will frequently lead to differing conclusions as to the true nature of the investment's return-generating efficiency. The Sortino ratio is used as a way to compare the risk-adjusted performance of programs with differing risk and return profiles. In general, risk-adjusted returns seek to normalize the risk across programs and then see which has the higher return unit per risk.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.9) in the period of the last 5 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 1.53 of Universal Investment Strategy is larger, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (0.62) in the period of the last 3 years, the ratio of annual return and downside deviation of 0.74 is larger, thus better.

'The ulcer index is a stock market risk measure or technical analysis indicator devised by Peter Martin in 1987, and published by him and Byron McCann in their 1989 book The Investors Guide to Fidelity Funds. It's designed as a measure of volatility, but only volatility in the downward direction, i.e. the amount of drawdown or retracement occurring over a period. Other volatility measures like standard deviation treat up and down movement equally, but a trader doesn't mind upward movement, it's the downside that causes stress and stomach ulcers that the index's name suggests.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (9.32 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Ulcer Ratio of 4.52 of Universal Investment Strategy is smaller, thus better.
- Looking at Downside risk index in of 5.48 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively lower, thus better in comparison to SPY (10 ).

'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:- 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.
- Compared with SPY (-24.5 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -12.2 days is larger, thus better.

'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'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- The maximum days under water over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 489 days, which is higher, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (488 days) in the same period.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 489 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 488 days from the benchmark.

'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:- The average days under water over 5 years of Universal Investment Strategy is 123 days, which is larger, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (123 days) in the same period.
- Looking at average days under water in of 179 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (176 days).

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Universal Investment Strategy are hypothetical and do not account for slippage, fees or taxes.
- Results may be based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.