Friday, December 12, 2008

Performance of Endowment Style Portfolios

In the final post of this series I look at the performance of an endowment type portfolio over the last 12 years. 10% is invested in the CREF Bond Fund and the remaining 90% split equally between the MSCI World Index, the Man-AHL Diversified Fund, the Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index, and the TIAA-Real Estate Fund. As is the case with all the portfolios I've posted here the portfolio is rebalanced monthly. This is the Balanced Portfolio. The Levered Portfolio borrows 45 cents for each dollar invested. In other words, the managed futures and stock portion of the portfolio are geared by 50% (one dollar borrowed for each dollar invested). The unlevered portfolio returns 0.83% per month (10.4% p.a.) with a monthly volatility of only 1.78%. The levered portfolio returns 1.08% per month (13.7% p.a.) with a monthly volatility of only 2.58%. This volatility is roughly half that of stocks or managed futures and the return is more than double what stocks returned in this period. Beta to the stock market is 0.35.

These results look better in the last couple of months than Ray Dalio's All Weather Portfolio, which is one of my inspirations. The reason is that while the AWP only includes "beta sources" the portfolio proposed in this post has 45% of assets allocated to "alpha sources" (i.e. they produce alpha relative to the MSCI benchmark).

Implementing a strategy like this in Australia is probably going to require a self managed superannuation fund (similar but much more bureaucratic than a US IRA) for someone like me with half or more of net worth in superannuation as I haven't found a regular superannuation provider with a managed futures option or for that matter a hedge funds option. Funds like PSS(AP) have some money invested in hedge funds of course, but you can't increase that proportion. You can decrease it by also investing in some of their single asset class funds.

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