Markets are currently very volatile. We have lived a strong bearish period, but it is not sure that the bulls are coming, as the trend is not clear yet. In this case, panic is the worst adviser. On the contrary, investors have to analyse properly their portfolios to take right decisions. If you are not a trader, if you are a long-term investor, then you have to assume that it is difficult to avoid losses in some periods, moreover when all markets are dropping. So, your goal has to be another: capital preservation.
What does capital preservation mean? Your goal as investor must be to keep your assets with the less possible losses or, of course, to obtain benefits. As there are many changes in the long term, then you have to concentrate your worries in the bearish times: how much are you losing? The success is not to lose or lose less than the reference markets, but how can you get that information? The answer is smart benchmark.
The picture above is very clear: my portfolio is losing, because I have invested in a market that is going hard into negative, but I only lose -2.4%, while the reference market (the smart benchmark) loses -14%. Not bad, huh?
As we regularly say, it is important to have available the right tools to analyse your investments and take decisions. Capital preservation has to be your first goal. Don’t lose money or lose the least. Then it the bullish times, your goal has to be to outperform the reference market.
The following chart is even clearer:
My Germany portfolio is much better than the benchmark: quite less losses in a bear period, less volatility and better Sharpe ratio.
What other tools do I have to consider risks in order to preserve my capital?
- Analyse how your positions contribute to risk your portfolio. In this case, you can find out if you have an uncomfortable asset to be substituted.
- Consider the diversification. In bearish periods, diversification is a great help to avoid hard losses. You can analyse it with the diversification benefit, that compares how much you win if your portfolio has different assets:
- Look at the Value at Risk, which measures the probability of having a certain level of losses. As you can see, my portfolio has the worst VaR, what means that I have to consider some changes in my allocation to avoid future losses.
All these figures will help you to understand your current position and risk. Then you can decide if you have to rebalance totally or partially your portfolio. The strategy is clear: keep your capital and set your portfolio to lose less in bad times and outperform the benchmark in growing times.