Tactical Asset Allocation – March 2017

Performance

Global Core Tactical Asset Allocation Strategy finished February up 0.01% and up 3.47% year to date.

Both Equities and Fixed Income drifted slightly lower during March; however our blend earned us a sliver of out-performance.

Long Term Capital Gains

The Global Core Strategy started 2016 in cash and Fixed Income as the market was completing its first serious correction in 5 years. Equity indexes bottomed in early February and by the end of the month, Global Core shifted into Equities in time to catch most of this rally.

The Subscriber Tax Settings webpage  includes the following description of our portfolio adjustment process: "TAAS Strategies can maintain an ETF position for a long period while dynamically adjusting the share count up and down during the holding period. This effectively adds and trims shares at the outer edge of the position. We can optimize opportunities for Long Term Capital Gains in the core investment by treating the adjustments as short term trades." It goes on to point out that "“Last In, First Out” provides the best opportunity for the longest held shares to qualify for LTCG treatment".

A notice late last week from the broker holding our Tactical Asset Allocation portfolio alerted me that some holdings would be eligible for Long Term tax treatment on April Fool's day. The notice was no joke. Well over half of the portfolio holdings have been in place for a full year.

Market

Equity Market Valuations remain extreme - see our Historical Valuations webpage and the Advisor Perspectives Blog on market valuations. My general sense is that while there may still be a little gas left in the tank for this rally; the next major trending move will be down accompanied by a shift in Global Core from Equities to Fixed Income and/or cash.

Tactical Asset Allocation Strategy Performance

Global Strategy (Conservative)

Month-to-date: 0.01% gain
Year-to-date: 3.47% gain
Full cycle-to-date (Sep 2007): 12.81% CAGR, 6.53% Max Monthly Drawdown

Performance table (updated after the close each month)

Global Strategy (Aggressive)

Month-to-date: 0.01% gain
Year-to-date: 3.47% gain
Full cycle-to-date (Sep 2007): 15.30% CAGR, 8.21% Max Monthly Drawdown

Performance table (updated after the close each month)

Tactical Asset Allocation Fund Basket Performance

Global Core

Month-to-date: 0.01% gain
Year-to-date: 3.47% gain
Full cycle-to-date (Sep 2007): 10.29% CAGR, 6.53% Max Monthly Drawdown

Performance table (updated after the close each month)

Global Satellite

Month-to-date: hibernating since Nov 2014
Year-to-date: hibernating since Nov 2014
Full cycle-to-date (Sep 2007): 25.90% [email protected], 8.2% Max Monthly Drawdown

Performance table (updated after the close each month)

Other baskets

US Core

Month-to-date: 0.01% gain,
Year-to-date: 3.47% gain
Full cycle-to-date (Sep 2007): 10.44% CAGR, 7.13% Max Monthly Drawdown

Performance table (updated after the close each month)

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I will be rolling out upgrades to the Tactical Model and Adaptive Strategies beginning with the November 29 rebalance for the month of December. In each case, the focus has been on improving control over the upper bounds of portfolio volatility, improving the consistency of annual returns, and on reducing fund turnover.

In order to provide the fullest possible disclosure, the Chart and Table displays on the website will include tables for both the original (labeled “Repl Dec 2019)” and upgraded Strategy beginning with the next update in early December.

The primary benefit of minor changes to Adaptive Global is reduction in both Standard Deviation of Monthly Returns and the Ulcer Index:.

  • Fund basket and condition eligibility: no change was made to fund baskets or condition eligibility
  • Fund selection: no change to fund selection method (Adaptive Dynamic Momentum)
  • Weighting of selected funds: Volatility Weighting was replaced with Limited Portfolio Volatility Weighting which is employed to cap the expected total portfolio volatility when high volatility funds (especially equities) are used. This slightly reduces both risk and return.
  • Position Optimization: Upgraded which slightly improves holding periods and performance.

Full cycle: CAGR decreased slightly from 15.0% to 14.6%;  Max Monthly Drawdown declined from 8.7% to 7.9%; and the Up/Down Ratio decreased slightly from 228.7% to 228.4%. The Ulcer Index declined from 3.7% to 3.6% and Standard Deviation of Monthly Returns declined from 9.5% to 9.1% reflecting improved consistency of returns.

A Caveat

A 35+ year secular bull market in both equities and bonds began in 1982. The last cyclical bull market in equities (and to a lesser extent, bonds) began 10 years ago. Returns during these periods have been historically exceptional. Market returns for the next 10 years are highly unlikely to approach those of the past 10. In fact, there is at least some evidence that market returns have a high probability of being significantly lower and that bonds and equities (which have risen together) may actually begin working at cross purposes.

Investors should not use the statistics shown for our strategies to establish expectations of specific levels of returns or drawdowns. Investors should, however, appreciate that we believe the principles which underlie the Tactical Adaptive Global, Tactical Adaptive Income, and Tactical Adaptive Innovation Strategies are enduring enough to significantly outperform the market in the future, both in lowering risk and in improving returns.

I will be rolling out upgrades to the Tactical Model and Adaptive Strategies beginning with the November 29 rebalance for the month of December. In each case, the focus has been on improving control over the upper bounds of portfolio volatility, improving the consistency of annual returns, and on reducing fund turnover.

In order to provide the fullest possible disclosure, the Chart and Table displays on the website will include tables for both the original (labeled “Repl Dec 2019)” and upgraded Strategy beginning with the next update in early December.

The primary benefit of changes to Adaptive Income is a broadening of the fund basket and reduction in both Standard Deviation of Monthly Returns and the Ulcer Index:

  • Fund basket and condition eligibility: the number of fixed income ETFs was increased from 5 to 6 to broaden the basket to include an investment grade ETF.
  • Fund selection: no change to fund selection method (Adaptive Dynamic Momentum)
  • Weighting of selected funds: Adaptive Income employed a single selection, 100% weighting to the best performing fund. Limited Portfolio Volatility Weighting is employed to cap the expected total portfolio volatility when higher volatility funds (especially high yield) are used. This forces the allocation across a second, lower volatility fund when the cap is exceeded.
  • Position Optimization: Upgraded which slightly improves holding periods and performance.
  • Full Cycle: CAGR increased slightly from 10.6% to 11.1%; Max Monthly Drawdown increased from 2.9% to 3.8% however Max Daily Drawdown remains unchanged at 7.1%; and the Up/Down Ratio rose from 503.0% to 556.9%. The Ulcer Index declined from 1.3% to 1.2% and Standard Deviation of Monthly Returns declined from 5.6% to 5.1% reflecting improved consistency of returns.

A Caveat

A 35+ year secular bull market in both equities and bonds began in 1982. The last cyclical bull market in equities (and to a lesser extent, bonds) began 10 years ago. Returns during these periods have been historically exceptional. Market returns for the next 10 years are highly unlikely to approach those of the past 10. In fact, there is at least some evidence that market returns have a high probability of being significantly lower and that bonds and equities (which have risen together) may actually begin working at cross purposes.

Investors should not use the statistics shown for our strategies to establish expectations of specific levels of returns or drawdowns. Investors should, however, appreciate that we believe the principles which underlie the Tactical Adaptive Global, Tactical Adaptive Income, and Tactical Adaptive Innovation Strategies are enduring enough to significantly outperform the market in the future, both in lowering risk and in improving returns.

 

I will be rolling out upgrades to the Tactical Model and Adaptive Strategies beginning with the November 29 rebalance for the month of December. In each case, the focus has been on improving control over the upper bounds of portfolio volatility, improving the consistency of annual returns, and on reducing fund turnover.

In order to provide the fullest possible disclosure, the Chart and Table displays on the website will include tables for both the original (labeled “Repl Dec 2019)” and upgraded Strategy beginning with the next update in early December.

This upgrade to Adaptive Innovation improves performance while significantly reducing volatility.

  • Fund basket and condition eligibility: The existing long duration Treasury ETF was added to the eligible funds for Balanced conditions. This allows strongly performing Treasuries to complete effectively with the Innovation equities for selection. A short duration Treasury ETF was added to provide a higher yielding alternative to cash.
  • Fund selection: no change to fund selection method (Adaptive Dynamic Momentum)
  • Weighting of selected funds: Volatility Weighting was replaced with Limited Portfolio Volatility Weighting which is employed to cap the expected total portfolio volatility when the higher volatility Innovation funds are used. This forces the allocation across a second or third fund when the volatility of the primary fund(s) exceeds the cap.
  • Position Optimization: Upgraded which made no change in holding periods and performance.
  • Partial cycle: CAGR increased slightly from 26.3% to 28.4%,  Max Monthly Drawdown and Maximum Daily Drawdown remained unchanged at 12.2% and 19.2% respectively; and the Up/Down Ratio increased from 280.2% to 336.9%. The Ulcer Index declined from 5.6% to 5.1% and Standard Deviation of Monthly Returns declined from 15.7% to 14.9% reflecting improved consistency of returns.

A Caveat

A 35+ year secular bull market in both equities and bonds began in 1982. The last cyclical bull market in equities (and to a lesser extent, bonds) began 10 years ago. Returns during these periods have been historically exceptional. Market returns for the next 10 years are highly unlikely to approach those of the past 10. In fact, there is at least some evidence that market returns have a high probability of being significantly lower and that bonds and equities (which have risen together) may actually begin working at cross purposes.

Investors should not use the statistics shown for our strategies to establish expectations of specific levels of returns or drawdowns. Investors should, however, appreciate that we believe the principles which underlie the Tactical Adaptive Global, Tactical Adaptive Income, and Tactical Adaptive Innovation Strategies are enduring enough to significantly outperform the market in the future, both in lowering risk and in improving returns.