Saturday, November 03, 2018

October 2018 Report

As I'm sure you know, this month was very volatile, which is good for trading but not for the performance of investments generally. This was a good test of our overall strategy, except that I abandoned trading after 17 October when I found the model was overfitted (and I also got ill with flu/pneumonia or something for the rest of the month). At the end of the month we received the grant of probate and so I am now adding in the inherited assets (cash and half an apartment) from the end of this month. This will suppress returns on both the upside and downside in the near future but doesn't affect the numbers for this month.

The Australian Dollar fell from USD 0.7228 to USD 0.7083. The MSCI World Index fell 7.47% and the S&P 500 fell 6.84%. The ASX 200 fell 6.04%. All these are total returns including dividends. We lost 5.30% in Australian Dollar terms and 7.20% in US Dollar terms. So, we  outperformed both Australian and international markets.

Because of the high volatility this month here is a detailed report on the performance of all investments and asset classes:

The table also shows the shares of these investments in our post-inheritance portfolio. Futures contracts are at the bottom. It doesn't make sense to compute shares or rates of return for those. Yeas, we lost a total of AUD 117k, which is our worst ever monthly result in absolute dollars. Things that worked quite well in this market crash:
  • PSSAP Superannuation fund - this fell very little, by contrast with Unisuper, which surprised me.
  • International hedge funds: Platinum, Tribeca, and Pershing, each did fairly well in relative terms. We should invest fully in these (12.5% is allocated to them in the model portfolio and 10% to Australian hedge funds).
  • Futures: Our own futures trading worked perfectly until I stopped and Winton's downside was not too bad (better than in February), but still not performing with zero or negative correlation to equity markets. Gold rose (will be a priority to invest in it). We need to get trading working, but it will take me a lot of time to do the needed research.
  • Real estate, CFS Diversified Fund etc all had more limited downside as we'd expect (estimated return for CFS Conservative Fund was negatively affected by trading).
What didn't work:
  • Cadence Capital, which fits in the (mostly) Australian hedge fund category, fell sharply. 
  • China Fund - this isn't surprising given the supposed drivers of the market correction.
  • Yellow Brick Road - I should have sold out of this when the Mercantile offer terminated

The following is table of investment performance statistics computed over the last 60 months (extended from 36 months previously) of data:

The first two rows gives the annual rate of return and Sharpe ratio for our investment performance in US dollars and Australian dollars. The other statistics are in comparison to the two indices. Based on beta, compared to the MSCI World Index we seem to be slightly geared, while compared to the Australian index we are less sensitive to market movements. We have a positive alpha compared to the Australian and a negative alpha compared to world markets. We capture more of the up movements and less of the down movements in the Australian market and the reverse in the international markets. The fall in the Australian Dollar over this period explains the poor performance compared to international benchmarks. The rate of return in USD terms is just horrible. US markets have been super strong over this period compared to the rest of the world.

This month I made USD 6k trading futures. This is the second best result to date and occurred as the NDX declined for the month. As I stopped trading partway through the month, I won't post the usual comparison of market, model, and my own performance. There seems to be potential here, but we need a system that is robust to different market conditions.

We actually moved away from the new long-run asset allocation in quite a dramatic way with the infusion of cash:

Total leverage includes borrowing inside leveraged (geared) mutual (managed) funds. The allocation is according to total assets including the true exposure in leveraged funds. All asset classes apart from cash and real estate fell as I added the inherited assets. My share of the inherited apartment is about 6% of net worth. Australian large cap fell by more as I switched out of the CFS Geared Share Fund just before the market correction got going.  Hedge funds were boosted by the addition of Tribeca (TGF.AX), which started trading on the ASX and Pershing Square Holdings, which I made a new investment in.

We also invest AUD 2k monthly in a set of managed funds, and there are also retirement contributions. Then there are distributions from funds and dividends.

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