Perspectives Blog

Does a perfect policy portfolio exist?

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | May 5, 2014

Risk Parity represents a significant advance in asset allocation, but we don’t believe that there is a single perfect policy portfolio. While Risk Parity works well in neutral markets, we don’t think it is the best policy under bearish, bullish or highly bullish market conditions. We believe that a policy function that rotates among four distinct policy portfolios is closer to perfect than any single policy portfolio. The idea of a policy port…

The end of “risk-on/risk-off”

Anwiti Bahuguna, Ph.D., Senior Portfolio Manager | February 3, 2014

…larly, correlation between equities and high yielding bonds rose from about 50% to over 80%. When investors took risk, most assets rallied with the exception of sovereign bonds. Conversely, when risk sold off, only sovereign bonds had positive returns. This risk-on/risk-off regime posed a problem for multi-asset portfolios as many of the traditional diversifiers of equities increasingly behaved much more like equities, making it harder to achieve…

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

October — It always seems to happen in October!

Ted Truscott, CEO, Global Asset Management | October 20, 2014

…he volatility of that growth. Market assumptions for steady growth did not necessarily account for all the other risks. While we continue to see equities as an important pillar of longer term allocation strategies, investors need to be vigilant about the levels of risk that a high-equity allocation adds to a portfolio. “Virtually everywhere else, however, the news is grim. The euro zone, the world’s second-biggest economic area, seems to b…

Constraints of convention – Does a portfolio design have to be static?

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | July 14, 2014

A 60/40 portfolio may appear to be balanced, but when viewed through a risk lens it is clear that the equity allocation comprises a disproportionate amount of the risk. As a static strategy, the very thing that has helped risk parity succeed over time may prove to be its biggest liability going forward, and that is all those extra bonds. Instead of always being accountable to the same neutral portfolio, why not shift accountability to a startin…

In the land of 7 footers, 6’8″ plays guard

Fred Copper, Senior Portfolio Manager | May 5, 2014

The expected real return on most “safe haven” assets is currently negative. Risk seeking behavior could result in a bubble encompassing all risky assets. While current indicators support a pro risk stance, we are prepared to change our positioning as market conditions dictate. There is a great deal of discussion currently about the likely emergence of asset bubbles in capital markets driven by hyper-stimulative central bank policy. However, we…

A port in the storm — Short muni funds can offer refuge in the face of rising rates

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | October 2, 2014

…asis points, short fund managers have the opportunity to increase income without materially adding interest rate risk. While the duration risk may be greater when compared to a money market fund, we believe that the overall benefits — higher yield and investment flexibility — of a short muni fund may provide investors with an attractive investment option, especially when considering the opportunity cost of holding cash or investing in a money mar…