17 Jun Is Too Complex Too Much?
Is Too Complex Too Much?
June 17, 2020 (updated in 2023)
What’s best for our trading?
Should we be more complex?
Should we be smarter?
I was listening to a podcast this weekend and the guest was an “allocator”. That means he looks at trading strategies from all over the world and decides what to pick to bring “alpha” (profits) to his clients.
He was very well spoken and used the amount of jargon that someone his level should use. He was a smart guy.
And he has to be. To be able to decipher the best strategies from the very good is hard. Determining how to fit a strategy in with other strategies is harder. And then determining at the allocation level of each strategy while managing the volatility targets of the clients? That’s complicated stuff.
Specifically, his fund’s goals are to pursue “capital efficient equity exposure while balancing risk and reward through a dynamic hedging strategy with a core laddered fixed-income portfolio with futures and equity hedges designed to provide uncorrelated sources of returns.”
No wonder Morningstar rates his funds as 4-Star (out of 4).
It’s easy to feel intimidated. And we probably should be. To do what this fund does takes a ton of brain-power.
Feeling inadequate, I glanced over to the “Annualized Rates of Return” section of the fund page. I was curious to see what kind of return high intellect produces.
What would you guess? 20% per year? 30%? More?
Since the inception of this fund, the annual return is 5.83%.
In same time period, the S&P 500 produced 9.25%.
All those complex configurations under-perform the market by a wide margin.
And that’s not all. In the past five years, the fund’s returns drop down to only 3.65%.
It begs the question: what is all that complexity for?
A monkey throwing darts could beat 3.65% per year.
But monkey trading is unconfirmed. Here’s what is confirmed.
We don’t even need a system to beat this complex fund.
We could just buy VIG (the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF).
Its performance not only trounces the super fund, it trounces the market since 2005:
I’m not a fan of buy and hold, but dividend buy and hold makes a whole lot more sense.
And makes a whole lot more money than futures and equity hedges.
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