Second Investment Course – November 2005 Topic Two: Asset Allocation: Decisions & Strategies
The Asset Allocation Decision • A basic decision that every investor must make is how to distribute his or her investable funds amongst the various asset classes available in the marketplace: • Stocks (e.g., Domestic, Global, Large Cap, Small Cap, Value, Growth) • Fixed-Income (e.g., Government, Investment Grade, High Yield) • Cash Equivalents (e.g., T-bills, CDs, Commercial Paper) • Alternative Assets (e.g., Private Equity, Hedge Funds) • Real Estate (e.g., Residential, Commercial) • Collectibles (e.g., Art, Antiques) • The Strategic (or Benchmark) allocation is the proportion of wealth the investor decides to place in each of these asset classes. It is sometimes also referred to as the investor’s long-term normal allocation because it is presumed to be the “baseline” allocation that will remain in place until the investor’s life circumstances change appreciably (e.g., retirement)
The Importance of the Asset Allocation Decision • In an influential article published in Financial Analysts Journal in July/August 1986, Gary Brinson, Randolph Hood, and Gilbert Beebower examined the issue of how important the initial strategic allocation decision was to an investor • They looked at quarterly return data for 91 pension funds over a ten-year period and decomposed the average returns as follows: • Actual Overall Return (IV) • Return due to Strategic Allocation (I) • Return due to Strategic Allocation and Market Timing (II) • Return due to Strategic Allocation and Security Selection (III)
The Importance of the Asset Allocation Decision (cont.) • Graphically: • In terms of return performance, they found that:
The Importance of the Asset Allocation Decision (cont.) • In terms of return variation: • Ibbotson and Kaplan support this conclusion, but argue that the importance of the strategic allocation decision does depend on how you look at return variation (i.e., 40%, 90%, or 100%).
Examples of Strategic Asset Allocations • Public Endowments:
Examples of Strategic Asset Allocations (cont.) • Public Retirement Fund:
Asset Allocation and Building an Investment Portfolio I. Global Market Analysis - Asset Class Allocation - Country Allocation Within Asset Classes II. Industry/Sector Analysis - Sector Analysis Within Asset Classes III. Security Analysis - Security Analysis Within Asset Classes and Sectors
Asset Allocation Strategies • Strategic Asset Allocation: The investor’s “baseline” asset allocation, taking into account his or her return requirements, risk tolerance, and investment constraints. • Tactical Asset Allocation: Adjustments to the investor’s strategic allocation caused by perceived relative mis-valuations amongst the available asset classes. Ordinarily, tactical strategies overweight the undervalued asset class. Also known as market timing strategies. • Insured Asset Allocation: Adjustments to the investor’s strategic allocation caused by perceived changes in the investor’s risk tolerance. Usually, the asset class that experiences the largest relative decline is underweighted. Portfolio insurance is a well-known application of this approach.
Sharpe’s Integrated Asset Allocation Model (cont.) • Notice that the feedback loops after the performance assessment box (M3) make the portfolio management process dynamic in nature. • The strategic asset allocation process can be viewed as going through the model once and then removing boxes (C2) and (I2), thus removing any temporary adjustments to the baseline allocation. • Tactical asset allocation effectively removes box (I2), but allows for allocation adjustments due to perceived changes in capital market conditions (C2). • Insured asset allocation effectively removes box (C2), but allows for allocation adjustments due to perceived changes in investor risk tolerance conditions (I2).
Measuring Gains from Tactical Asset Allocation • Example: Consider the following return and allocation characteristics for a portfolio consisting of stocks and bonds only. StockBond Allocation: Strategic 60% 40% Actual 50 50 Returns: Benchmark 10% 7% Actual 9 8 • The returns to active management (i.e., tactical and security selection) are: Policy Performance: (.6)(.10) + (.4)(.07) = 8.80% Actual Performance: (.5)(.09) + (.5)(.08) = 8.50% Active Return = - 30 bp
Measuring Gains from Tactical Asset Allocation (cont.) Also: (Policy & Timing): (.5)(.10) + (.5)(.07) = 8.50% (Policy & Selection): (.6)(.09) + (.4)(.08) = 8.60% so: Timing Effect: 8.50 – 8.80 = -0.30% Selection Effect: 8.60 – 8.80 = -0.20% Other: 8.50 – 8.60 – 8.50 + 8.80 = +0.20% Total Active = -0.30%