eToro Post – How Strategic Rebalancing Helped Avoid a -35% Loss in Long Treasury Bonds

Since I joined eToro in April last year, I have been sharing insights and observations about investing with risk balanced strategies such as the All Seasons Portfolio (“ASP”) strategy I run here. As eToro is a social trading platform, I from time to time share content in my eToro feed, which I then share on the blog in posts like this.

As part of my All Seasons Portfolio, the asset classes have a set aimed allocation, which is based on their historical volatility and correlations and biases to different economic regimes. For rebalancing the portfolio, I apply rebalancing spans that allow assets to deviate from the aimed allocation with +/- 20%, unless it is in a trend.

Such rebalancing trigger occurred in March 2022 for Long-Term Treasury Bonds, as its weight had fallen by more than 20%, but as it was in a clear negative trend, rebalancing was postponed until May 2022.

By waiting with the rebalancing, I managed to avoid a loss of more than 35% on the position I would have taken in March (or -2.5% on a portfolio level).

In this post, we describe in a bit more detail the benefits of applying such strategic rebalancing rules.

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eToro Post – Different Types of Inflation and Assets That Hedge Against Each

Surely you have not missed the talks about inflation the past year. Even from the Fed and Yellen, the sentiment about inflation has changed from “not a problem” to “transitory” to “longer than first expected” and now to “good for the economy”.

While the price of risk assets, such as stocks, may also inflate due to the rise in inflation, they are not rising as much in real terms.

Rising inflation, and especially inflation that is higher than expected, is harmful to most common portfolios that comprise of stocks, or a combination of the two like the 60/40 Portfolio. Both stock and bonds are assets that perform well in times of low or decreasing inflation, and will lag in times when inflation rises.

It is thus vital to have a portfolio which also includes inflation hedges to mitigate the risk of unexpected inflation prints.

In this post, we will be looking at different types of inflation - as inflation can manifest in different ways - and how you can protect your wealth against each of them with different assets.

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eToro Post – Prediction vs. Preparation

Is a good investment outcome always a sign of a great investment decision?

Intuitively, one could believe so, but more often than you might believe, that is actually not the case.

The past decade has favored stocks massively, meaning that investors who ignored diversified investment strategies and who applied poor risk management, have actually benefitted, while prudent investors have seen their neighbors get richer on meme stocks, cryptos and ARKK ETFs.

But are all these stock investors geniuses for achieving such a great outcome? Hardly. Such a belief among these investors – that they are superior investors – is just a form of outcome bias or “resulting” as described by Annie Dike in her book “Thinking In Bets”.

In short, this means that not all decisions with good results are necessarily good decisions.

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Portfolio Update – December 2021 – How Roll Yield Influences Bond ETF Performance In Rising Yield Environments

Recently, a lot of discussions have been revolving around government bonds and whether they are still a sensible investment even in a balanced portfolio such as the All Seasons Portfolio, now that yields are rising and the West could be facing geopolitical uncertainty.

When attempting to find answers on what to do with treasury bond investments, I began thinking about how roll yield could potentially be an important factor to consider when assessing bond returns. I will be explaining more in detail what that is further below, but I think you might find it interesting too how roll yield is likely to impact Long-Term Treasury ETFs like IS04/TLT (iShares $ 20+yr treasury Bond ETF) in a scenario when rates rise.

As I searched for more certainty what will happen with these investments, I sought to quantify the impact of roll yield. To achieve this, I modelled the returns by simulating 100 bond portfolios similar to IS04 in the event that rates would rise, and compare that return with a portfolio that does not benefit from roll yield to see the difference. The results were quite clear actually.

With this post, I am not attempting to convince you that investing in government bond is a good idea - I give no judgement in that. Rather, I share my observations and findings from my research about roll yield as a phenomenon, and you can use that information as you wish in your analysis. I hope it adds to your process.

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Portfolio Update – October and November 2021 – Strategic Rebalancing

It is December, and this is a period when most investors usually end up overseeing their portfolio allocations to start fresh in the coming year, and preforming periodical rebalancing.

While most just rebalance mechanically back to the original asset weights, we will be looking at whether rebalancing can be carried out in a way that improves returns and minimizes drawdowns when compared to both buy-and-hold strategies, as well as periodical rebalancing.

Many investors – both retail investors investing their personal wealth, and asset managers with millions in AUM – usually employ calendar rebalancing of a portfolio. This could be the quarterly rebalancing of a mutual fund, or that the retail investor sits down annually for a few hours during the Christmas holidays ahead of the new year to rebalance the portfolio.

Such periodical rebalancing is built on the fundament of mean reversion. It essentially sells the winners of the past period, and buys the losers. Over time, this is from where a rebalancing premium is captured when your portfolio consists of several uncorrelated assets. All Seasons Portfolios are a typical such portfolio that benefits from the rebalancing premium.

However, Man Group has researched strategic rebalancing techniques that could mitigate drawdowns through more bespoke methods for rebalancing. Their discussed techniques cover both the periodical rebalancings, as well as mid-period rebalancing when assets’ weights in portfolios deviate by more than a predetermined amount (rebalancing spans).

The retail investor should therefore consider the implications of trend and momentum both for periodical rebalancing and ad hoc rebalancing when using rebalancing spans, and implement a strategic rebalancing approach to further improve risk-adjusted return by minimizing drawdowns and thus the overall portfolio volatility, and potentially capture additional percentage points of return from trend.

In this post, we will be looking at a few ways of how to implement strategic rebalancing for your portfolio. I will also especially highlight the ways I have taken strategic rebalancing to heart in my All Seasons Portfolio.

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Portfolio Update – September 2021 – Why The 60/40 Portfolio Is Not Balanced

When it comes to the All Seasons Portfolio strategy, or any other risk parity strategy for that matter, one of the fundamental ingredients is how to allocate the capital between assets in the portfolio based on risk rather than capital.

Why this is important, or even why bother doing it at all, is a question I get quite often. I think therefore it is time to have a closer look at risk parity portfolio allocation principles. Here I mean the reason for why the allocation to the assets is based on their risk (volatility) rather than equal weight based on capital.

In this article, for a comprehensible description, we will be examining a simple two-asset portfolio to illustrate the importance of weighting assets based on risk rather than capital. For this example, I will be using a 60/40 Portfolio consisting of 60% stocks and 40% bonds, as this is popularly (and erroneously) considered as a “balanced portfolio”, and as this is a portfolio allocation strategy among both retail and institutional investors.

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