An analysis of Harry Browne´s Permanent Portfolio and further enhancements towards: A Permanent Portfolio ETF Rotation Strategy employing Momentum, Mean Reversion, and Volatility Targeting. It’s not just cars. It’s investment strategies like the permanent portfolio, too. Vintage "all-weather" investment strategies are often simple, easy to execute and give amble 'out-of-sample' data. In other words one can see how they performed in life years after they have been proposed. And like the VW bug, they are "safe" choices. Tried and true. Can you imagine a 1965 VW running in the Autobahn? Although the essence counts for a lot, for the car to survive at today's highway speeds the tech needs to be up to date. So let’s take my favourite oldie and bring it up to speed: Harry Browne’s Permanent Portfolio. The Permanent Portfolio by Harry Browne From Investopedia: … Browne believed that the four asset classes would thrive in one of the four possible macroeconomic scenarios that exist. Stocks would thrive during periods of economic prosperity. Bonds would do well in deflation and acceptably well during periods of prosperity. Gold during periods of high inflation would rapidly increase in value as the only true defence against a deteriorating currency. Cash would act as a buffer against losses during a routine recession or tight-money episode, and would act well in deflationary times. So let’s see how the original permanent portfolio Harry Browne first published has performed. The original rules of the All Weather Portfolio: 25% in a stock market Index ( S&P 500) 25% in Treasuries 25% in Gold. 25% in Cash or similar Not bad. Annual return is 7.1% and maximum draw-down comes in at 17.84% since 1992. For a far more detailed analysis of the so-called fail-save investment or permanent portfolio or "PP" you can see Gestaltu's excellent "PP Shakedown" [...]
For our „All Strategies“ Subscriber who use the Portfolio Builder to blend their own mix of Logical Invest Strategies, here some updates and a short mid-year review:We have now included the “World Top 4 Strategy” into both the online an offline tool. To keep the charts readable, we opted for replacing the Aggressive Version of our “Global Sector Rotation”. The preconfigured and optimized Markowitz Portfolios have been updated, only slight changes in the allocations occurred – all are <5%, so in most cases these can be neglected due to account size.
Welcome to the Investing Academy!If we´d be asked to summarize our investing experience into two famous quotes, probably it would be these two:“Don't look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!” “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”The former by John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard, the latter attributed to Danish physicist Niels Bohr, both nicely recap why we advocate for investing in broad instruments like ETF and avoid market timing or stock picking based on expectation, but rather stick to well researched market anomalies and price action.Being an investor is no easy job, especially if you are a Do-It-Yourselfer, and even more if you´re still in your job. Being an investor with Logical Invest is - so we´ve been told many times - even harder.Rules based, quantitative investing like we advocate for is full of math terms, dives deep into statistics and finance, requires hours of reading to truly understand what you will invest your money in – and on top our unique blend of “LI slang” and geeky, non-native English writing style. We hear you!To empower novice investors to benefit from our strategies and portfolios but also as useful reference for the investing veterans, we´ve started to put some introduction articles about broad investing topics together, and will call this compilation in future our Investing Academy.We´ll start with some 25 articles around below topics, but plan to further add topics of interest as we receive feedback and topics develop in our forum.Investing 101Your Pension Retirement PlanETF InvestingInvestment StrategiesPortfolio ManagementRules-based Trading StrategiesOr get started here, and please share your feedback in the space below.Your Logical Invest team
In a previous post we introduced our new investment strategy, the BUG. There has been a lot of interest but also some concerns when it comes to using leverage. We are introducing a version of the BUG for non-leveraged accounts.In this version we allocate amongst 6 ETFs: SPY, TLT, GLS, CWB, TIP and PCY. Again as in the original strategy we use these heuristics: Timing (using a simple average rule), Volatility Targeting (we reduce exposure to more volatile ETFs), Momentum (we reduce the size of the worst performer and add to the rest). We don’t employ short term mean reversion and we only trade up to 4 assets.
We’re delighted to be invited as exhibitor and speaker to the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) from Nov 7-9, 2015 at Las Vegas.Frank and I will be attending the conference and we would love to meet you there. Our workshop on Monday, November 9 will have the following topics:
Update January 2017: The recent performance of investing in volatility can be seen here. You are probably wondering how we could achieve yearly performances of more than 50% with some of our rotation strategies. The reason is that the Maximum Yield Rotation Strategy and the Global Market Rotation Enhanced Strategy are investing in inverse volatility. Invest in inverse Volatility So, here are now some facts to show you why I like inverse volatility so much. In this chart you see the performance of the ZIV mid-term inverse volatility ETF compared to some other global market ETF from our rotation strategy. The ZIV performance of 76% for the last 12 month was just incredible. In the next chart you see a comparison of the VIX volatility index compared to the ZIV performance. ZIV has a inverse relation to the VIX index. This means that ZIV goes down when volatility or VIX goes up. For the 1 year period VIX is more or less the same (+0.19%). The VIX index is now at 15.6%. So, why did ZIV go up so much, when the VIX index is unchanged? This is because of the strong contango of the VIX mid-term futures of which the ZIV ETF is composed. If I calculate, then I get an average monthly performance of 4.8% (=12. root of 1.76), during the last 12 month, due to the strong contango of the VIX futures which track volatility. At the moment the monthly "roll yield" of ZIV is a little bit lower, but it is still about 3% per month. Now, if you look at the ZIV performance you see that ZIV only made 0.69% since April 12. Why this??? If you look at the VIX Index, you see that during the same period, it went up by almost 30%. [...]
From the next strategy email on, the Bond Rotation Strategy will also use adaptive ETF allocation, to make is more suitable as IRA or 401k Investment Strategy. This new technique allows a 30% higher Sharpe (return to risk) ratio. Together with this change we have also changed the ETF selection from the old: AGG - iShares Core Total US Bond (4-5yr) BOND - PIMCO Total Return ETF CWB - SPDR Barclays Convertible Bond HYLD - AdvisorShs Peritus High-Yield Bond (3-4yr) SHY - Barclays Low Duration Treasury (2-yr) TLH - iShares Barclays 401k 10-Year Treasury (9-11yr) Ro the new ETF selection: CWB - SPDR Barclays Convertible Bond JNK: SPDR Barcap High-Yield Junk Bond (4-7yr) PCY: PowerShares Emerging Mkts Bond (7-9yr) TLT: iShares Barclays 401k Long-Term Trsry (15-18yr) The new BRS strategy does not need the total US market bonds AGG and BOND anymore. In fact for the old strategy, these bonds have been used to simulate an intermediate mix between treasuries and corporate bonds. The new BRS strategy can now invest in any mix of these bonds due to the adaptive allocation. Also the SHY (cash) ETF is not necessary anymore, because the allocations will be automatically reduced to zero if this would be necessary. Excellent features as an IRA or 401k Investment Strategy We also go back to the passively managed JNK high yield junk bond after the actively managed HYLD junk bond was showing an extremely bad performance these last months. So better don't have any fund manager interfering with the strategies in the future. New is the emerging market sovereign debt bond PCY which gives the strategy some international diversification. TLH has been replaced by the more liquid TLT treasury ETF. All together, the strategy becomes simpler, with less ETFs, but with a significantly better performance. We recently were approached by a subscriber [...]
Intelligent Algorithms run two prallel sub-strategies. Meta- layer chooses between the two sub-strategies based on current market conditions. Variable allocation to Treasuries provides protection from large drawdowns.This strategy is a good fit for investors that want to invest intelligently in the U.S. equity market as well as for stock-pickers looking for a rules-based growth strategy. The strategy can also complement our existing strategies and can work well with our more conservative strategies like BRS (bond rotation), the BUG or with non-U.S. equity strategies like World Top 4.
The following ETF strategy is one of my favorite rotation strategies, which many of my friends, customers and I use now for some years. The Global Market ETF Rotation Strategy (GMR) The GMR Strategy switches between 6 different ETF on a monthly basis. The back tested return of this strategy since 2003 is quite impressive. Annual performance (CAGR) = 41.4% (S&P500=8.4%) Total performance since 2003 = 3740% (S&P500=134%) 69% of trades have positive return versus 31% with negative return You find the most recent performance table here. ETF These global markets and ETF are: US Market (MDY - S&P MidCap 400 SPDRs) Europe (IEV - iShares S&P Europe 350 Index Fund) Emerging Markets (EEM - iShares MSCI Emerging Markets) Latin America (ILF - iShares S&P Latin America) Pacific region (EPP - iShares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan) During market corrections I invest in: US Treasury Bonds (EDV - Vanguard Extended Duration Treasuries (25+yr)) Cash or SHY (SHY - Barclays Low Duration US Treasury) Selection of the strategy ETF For the design of a well performing rotation strategy, it is important that the selected ETF are not too volatile, show longer term visible trends and have a good market volume, so that they cannot be manipulated. They all should have more or less the same volatility. The 5 global markets ETF fulfill this condition. They all are capitalized enough, so that they cannot be manipulated in the short term. Why rotating? The 5 ETFs follow slightly different economic cycles and there are long periods where one market outperforms the other until it becomes so overpriced and investors begin to remove their money from that market in order to invest in other cheaper valued markets. Looking back 12 month, we see that the US market was the clear winner and the [...]
Diversification is a cornerstone to successful investing. In simple form, when measurably diverse assets are combined in a portfolio, the investors portfolio risks are reduced without any sacrifice of returns. This is a rare “free lunch”, it is well accepted part of modern financial portfolios, and to stay financially healthy it is important not to skip lunch. When one asset is going down while the other is going up, the portfolios risk is reduced without the normal penalty of risk/return trade-offs. We take advantage of that when our systems dynamically blend things like the S&P 500 and treasury bonds, which often exhibit negative correlation to each other (which is ideal).Applying Portfolio Diversification to Strategies: Our subscribers can take this take a step further. Our investing algorithms take on a blend of the properties of their underlying assets combined with the “alpha” edges from the investing rules. The returns of each investing strategy should be thought of as an asset, which are different and unique from the underlying holdings. So holding a portfolio of strategies functions much like holding a portfolio of assets. To evaluate the risk profile of the strategy, we examine the history of the returns of those strategies, much like when holding a basket of stocks the historical returns of each stock would be evaluated.