Monday, January 30, 2017

Amazing 2016 for UST Proprietary Strategy!!

Happy New Year to all the readers. 2016 was an amazing year with our conservative strategy up 12.2% versus 11.96% of SP500 (with dividend). Snapshot below is taken from the brokerage account.


We will start 2017 by reviewing 2016 performance. This review will cover every aspect of the performance, along with how the strategy performed in times of uncertainty and volatility. Each blog post will cover a different aspect of the performance review.

UST team has been developing repeatable, scalable and easily explainable proprietary investment strategies, along with built-in risk-management measures. In 2015, the strategy was developed and back tested. Last year, strategy was moved to production with real money. At the same time, we also developed 3 additional strategies, which will be discussed in future posts.

2016 - The Year of Volatility:

2016 was a very volatile year. It started with one of the worst starts of the year for the US stocks. Although market started a rally phase from Feb/March time frame, it remained on the edge due to following three major reasons:

  1. US presidential election primaries
  2. Fed's rate decision
  3. Brexit 
Brexit was one of the biggest surprises of 2016. The night of Brexit vote, market dropped over 1000 points before starting another rally phase, which most of the market participants didn't see. This was followed by an unprecedented US presidential election, which took almost everyone by surprise. If some people got the election results right, their market positioning was wrong. In the end market ended with a ~12% gain from a ~5% loss at the start of the year.

Conservative Strategy Performance - 2016

Interesting aspect of this strategy is that the returns are uncorrelated with the market. 2016 Beta was -0.57, while 9 year back-testing showed a Beta of -0.08. Since the returns are totally independent of the market performance, we can say that these returns were Alpha.

Throughout this volatile year, our proprietary model kept us on the right side of the trade and kept on adjusting the holdings to dampen impact of volatility, while amplifying potential gains. Following is a snapshot from the brokerage account showing the monthly performance:

Following chart is from Openfolio, showing daily change of the same portfolio in 2016:

Overall gains were impacted by pre-election jitters and post-election bond rout. However, it gave the strategy an excellent buying opportunity, whose benefits we could reap in 2017. We also learned several very important lessons for the strategy, which has enabled us to improve the nimbleness of the model. Benefits of these additions are clearly visible in 2017's performance, which we will discuss in one of the next blog posts. 

Investment Options

We are working very hard to make these strategies available for investors. If you are interested in investing, you can register below and we will send you update when the strategy is available for investments. Some of the key outputs from the data models used in this strategy are also available through subscription

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