TAA portfolio tracking: turning it over to the pros

I knew this time would come eventually and here it is. Starting this month I will not be publishing any further tracking updates on TAA portfolios. Going forward I will be using and recommending Allocate Smartly for TAA portfolio tracking and implementation. Here’s the why and some details on the platform.

The number of portfolios I was tracking and wanted to track, and the quality of the information I wanted to provide was proving to be a bit too much. Also, my interests lie more in how to use these portfolios, e.g. to optimize safe withdrawal rates, instead of the detailed tracking. And now there are professional services out there that provide accurate quality data for a reasonable price plus additional features that make them very worthwhile. Lets look at a few features of Allocate Smartly that I find quite useful.

First, is simply the number of TAA portfolios that are tracked. Here is a partial list. And there are more being added. There are also buy and hold portfolios like the All Weather Portfolio and the Permanent Portfolio on the list.

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Second, is the information provided for each portfolio. Here is the summary data for the GTAA AGG3 portfolio as an example. Also, detailed performance statistics, including historical performance data by year and month is very useful.

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Now, for me, these next two features are what really make the difference. If you have implemented any TAA portfolio for a while, even more so if you’ve implemented multiple TAA portfolios, you will find these to be quite valuable. One of the portfolio tools is a correlation table of the various portfolios tracked. For example, I wanted to see the TAA portfolio correlations with the traditional 60/40 buy and hold. Or you could see the correlations amongst the TAA portfolios themselves. This makes building portfolios much much easier.

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Next, is the near real-time tracking of the portfolios. If you’ve implemented any TAA portfolio you are aware of the impact of not buying or selling the ETFs at the theoretical model price. I discussed this issue in this post. This and other slippages can kill TAA portfolio performance. The solution as I mentioned in the post is to ‘trade the close’. Basically, execute the portfolio buy and sells as close to the closing prices as possible on the day of portfolio update, usually the end of month. This is solvable manually but is much easier if automated. Allocate Smartly tracks the portfolio in near real-time and will even issue you intra-day email alerts (if you choose) on the day of your portfolio update. Also, you can choose any day of the month to have your portfolio re-balance, not just the standard end of month. For example, below is an intra-day snapshot of the All Weather Portfolio. If you are not ‘trading the close’ with your TAA portfolios taking advantage of this feature will save you way more money in slippage costs than the cost of the platform.

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And if you’re using multiple TAA portfolios the detailed help on portfolio execution is quite good. It makes entering the actual buy, sell orders quite easy. This is an example snapshot of a model portfolio I created of multiple TAA strategies.

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OK, great, How much is it. Right now Allocate Smartly is $30/month or $300 for the year. And you can try it for free. For a $100K portfolio or portfolio of TAA strategies that is 0.3% per year extra in management fees. As I mentioned earlier if you take advantage of the near real-time portfolio updates to execute transactions at the theoretical model prices you will more than make this up in lower slippage costs.

In summary, I’m turing over TAA portfolio tracking to the pros. I will be focusing more on writing about the results of TAA portfolios for improving investors returns, enhancing retirement withdrawal rates, etc. I also will be doing more quant portfolio work. Allocate Smartly is one of the solutions out there for TAA software and the one I have chosen. I haven’t done a thorough look at all potential solutions but here is a list from Meb Faber. As for my Google sheets tracking the TAA portfolios they will all be left where they are but I will not be updating them regularly anymore. Feel free to continue using them.

Full Disclosure. I do receive some affiliate revenue of you sign up to Allocate Smartly through my link. I do certainly appreciate it if you do.

Full Disclaimer - Nothing on this site should ever be considered advice, research or the invitation to buy or sell securities. These are my personal opinions only.

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10 Responses to TAA portfolio tracking: turning it over to the pros

  1. Douglas Nashif says:

    Thank you Paul. I’ve learned alot from you and will continue to appreciate and carefully ponder each and every article.

  2. Don Thompson says:

    Thanks, Paul. Been learning from you for a while now and look forward to more on the quants. I have two current TAA portfolios and have been planning to start two quant portfolios in January. I like this change. I’ve worried about keeping up with things if you fell off a cliff by a light house, decided to move on to other things in life, or something. With a business providing the updates I’ll not worry. I’ll be starting with Allocate Smartly through your link. Seems like it’s been a while since you’ve written about quants, and I am eager to see what you have coming.

  3. Vanuatu says:

    Hi Paul,

    Can you specify your own list of ETFs in Allocate Smartly (e.g. those that you can trade commission free on your preferred platform)? Or, is each asset class represented by a pre-specified ETF?

    Thanks.

  4. Pontus says:

    Your tracking was highly appreciated! I have built my own tracker for Swedish funds and ETF:s (since I’m swedish and don’t want too much USD-exposure). It wouldn’t have been possible without using your great tracking sheet as a blueprint. I’m looking forward to the planned posts you mentioned.

    I also have a question, which relates to your posts on using economic indicators to time the market. I’m curious on how you performed the backtests when you combined TV2 with the UI and SPY200MA. I’d like to perform some backtests of my own on the Swedish market but I’m having trouble finding a reasonable way of backtesting against equity quant strategies, since there is so much data when you have 10-20 equity prices to track.

  5. JOHN STEIN says:

    I signed up yesterday , I have been doing the ivy agg6 , and the trending bond (3) portfolios on my own . I like this and think it will keep my more on track . Is there any way to calculate the SWR from the data or do they show it on the website somewhere .
    Thanks

    • paul.novell@gmail.com says:

      Great John. Yes, there is a way to calculate SWR from the annual return data. But it is completely manual and cumbersome. I have published SWRs for various TAA portfolios in the past. I update it once a year when the new annual return data is available.

      Paul

  6. Steve W. says:

    Hi Paul,

    Was wondering if you had considered using Portfolio123 to track and implement your quantitative stock portfolios? Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think your 25 stocks for each portfolio for 2016 was made available to your readers. You disclose the rules that determine the stocks that are bought but for us who aren’t comfortable with building our own portfolios based on your rules, we could become members of Portfolio123 and follow in real time the various portfolios that you use. Would appreciate your reply to let me know what you think? Thanks.

    Steve

    • paul.novell@gmail.com says:

      Hey Steve, no I have not made any stock recommendations available this year from any of the quant models. I have considered putting my models on P123’s Smart Alpha program which would allow users to track my portfolios in real time. Or building my own website to do the same. One of the issues I have with P123 is that even at a reasonable $5-$10/month for a model, on top of their $35/month basic membership, users would be looking at $40-$45/month just to follow one model. For multiple models it becomes more efficient but still a bit pricey. And the incremental cost for me to offer Smart Alpha models is $80/month. Of course, me building my own site has some large upfront costs and a bit riskier.

      So, long answer to basically say I’m considering something to allow readers to implement the quant models more easily.

      Paul

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