Monday, December 21, 2020

2020 Update on the Yale Endowment

Inspired by Financial Samurai's latest post, I am updating my post on the Yale Endowment. They have released preliminary results for the 2019-20 financial year (ends 30 June) and so we can update with three years of data. They returned 6.8% for the 2019-20 financial year, which is just below the S&P500's 7.5%. On the other hand, HFRI lost 0.6% and I lost 0.1% in USD terms. In the long run, since the financial crisis they have tracked the MSCI index with a little extra return and a little less volatility:

Their asset allocation continues to evolve, with domestic equity now only 2.5% and private equity now 41% of the portfolio:

Natural resources are now down to 4.5%. This is much more extreme than the typical family office portfolio, which has 49% of assets in alternatives including rela estate and commodities vs. 78% of the Yale portfolio.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Breakdown into Taxes, Spending, and Saving

Following up on yesterday's post on our spending over time in different categories, I made another pretty graph, this time of the breakdown of income into taxes, spending, and saving. Everything is in Australian Dollars:


Total income is our gross income on our tax returns plus superannuation contributions that are not on our tax returns. This means that it includes taxable investment income. As a result, current saving looks quite big, but saving from our salaries is much smaller than this, nearer to AUD 20k per year. Superannuation contributions include employer and salary sacrifice contributions and not "non-concessional contributions", which I treat as transfers from current savings totaling AUD 180k during this period.

Mortgage principal payments were low last year when I paid off and redrew the mortgage. Even though in my investment performance reports I now include mortgage interest as an investment cost, for the purposes of these posts on spending I include it in housing costs to make our numbers more comparable to other people's. Investment costs are mostly margin interest as well as other fees. Taxes include income and property tax.

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Spending Over the Last Four Years

The chart shows our spending over the last four Australian tax years. The 2020-21 figures are an estimate based on the first five months of the year:

This year's spending is predicted to be lower than last due partly to COVID-19 and a lack of major house maintenance expenditure this year. Travel and cash spending have gone from significant items in 2017-18 to almost nothing or nothing this year. I deliberately reduced cash spending when I started this tracking of our spending in order to make tracking easier. The category that seems to have increased the most is childcare and education, which is not surprising as we went from one child in daycare only a few days a week to two children for more days of the week. The childcare subsidies we got have also been reduced. 

Also of interest are restaurants, which are the tiny sliver above supermarkets, which also declined a lot this year for obvious reasons (I think I got food delivered from a restaurant maybe a couple of times ever in my life). In 2017-18, restaurants were very low because I would usually pay with cash then. Really, restaurant spending was much higher than shown in the first two years. Last year it was AUD 3k and this year is estimated to be AUD 1k. Travel only includes flights and accommodation.

Currency Exposures

 I took a more granular look at currency exposures:

So, actually I still have less than 50% exposure to the Australian Dollar. This probably still exaggerates Australian Dollar exposure. I couldn't find any information on the Australian vs. international bond exposure in any of four Australian balanced funds we are invested in. So I ascribed all their bond exposure to Australian bonds. I am always frustrated by the low level of disclosure regarding investments by most Australian funds in comparison to American funds.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

November 2020 Report

Stock markets rose strongly and the US Dollar fell this month. The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7036 to USD 0.7361. The MSCI World Index rose 12.36%, the S&P 500 by 10.95%, and the ASX 200 rose 10.32%. All these are total returns including dividends. We gained 3.83% in Australian Dollar terms or 8.63% in US Dollar terms. The target portfolio is expected to have gained 2.70% in Australian Dollar terms and the HFRI hedge fund index is expected to gain 2.82% in US Dollar terms. So, we outperformed the latter two benchmarks. Here is a report on the performance of investments by asset class (currency neutral terms): 
Hedge funds added the most to performance and gold detracted the most.
Things that worked well this month:
  • The following funds all gained more than AUD 20k: Tribeca Global Resources (TGF.AX), Hearts and Minds (HM1.AX), Platinum (PMC.AX), Pershing Square Holdings (PSH.L). Pershing and Tribeca both gained more than 18%. URF.AX (US residential real estate) gained 34%.
What really didn't work:
  • Gold fell 5.9% or AUD 23k. Domacom (DCL.AX) drifted down, losing AUD 5.5k.
The investment performance statistics for the last five years are:
The first two rows are our unadjusted performance numbers in US and Australian Dollar terms. The following four lines compare performance against each of the three indices. We have the desired asymmetric capture for all three indices now and positive alpha compared to all three of them. 
The next graph shows monthly performance relative to the MSCI and HFRI indices in US Dollar terms. Before COVID-19 we seemed to track the hedge fund index closely. Post-COVID-19 we are tracking the MSCI closely. We did take on more risk but it wasn't that big a change I thought. So, our investments must also be behaving differently.

We moved further towards our long-run asset allocation. Bonds are still the asset class that is furthest from their target allocation (8.4% of total assets too much) followed by real assets (real estate and art) (8.0% too little):
We are now over-allocated to hedge funds, so will look to trim some positions over time. On a regular basis, we invest AUD 2k monthly in a set of managed funds, and there are also retirement contributions. Other moves this month:
  • I applied for AUD 100k of shares in the Cadence Opportunities Fund.
  • The first capital call for the Aura VFII fund was made for AUD 62.5k.
  • General Financial called 760 of our GNFSL baby bonds. We still have 240.
  • I made a trade in E-Mini S&P call options around the US election. Got out for a small profit, but should have held much longer.
  • I bought another 1,000 IAU gold ETF shares. Still not at 10% of gross assets in gold!
  • I sold 5,000 Hearts and Minds (HM1.AX) shares, taking our position down to 40,000. This was because the stock was trading at a large premium to NTA.
  • I bought AUD 25k by selling US Dollars. We are now at roughly 50/50 in terms of Australian Dollar linked and foreign currency linked investments and so will probably not buy more Australian Dollars for a while.
  • I borrowed AUD 100k from Interactive Brokers and AUD 30k from CommSec to fund the new investments.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

New Investment or Trade? Treasury Wine Estates


Today, I bought 5,000 shares of Treasury Wine @ AUD 8.42 a share. The stock has traded as high as AUD 20.20 in the last three years. The price has fallen since China put a huge tariff on Australian wine. The company's announcement seemed positive to me. This stock was also recommended at the recent Sohn Investment Conference by Jun Bei Liu of Tribeca Investment Partners. I don't think she was betting on such a high tariff.