Analysis of Fidelity Fund Portfolios
active management, analysis, asset allocation, mutual fund, portfolio

Fidelity®, a well-known asset management firm, proposes eight model portfolios comprising the firm’s mutual funds, predominantly actively managed ones. These portfolios are said to be risk-based, diversified, and constructed for a hypothetical investor to use as inspiration.

Use our model portfolios to help generate ideas

If you prefer to pick the funds you want in your portfolio, our model portfolios* show one way you might construct a well-diversified portfolio of Fidelity mutual funds based on your risk tolerance and financial situation. These combinations provide illustrations of potential opportunities for greater potential risk-adjusted returns over the long term.

In this post, we analyze historical performance of these model portfolios in relation to their reference ETF portfolios. Each reference portfolio has a fixed ETF membership and weights to represent average exposures of the model portfolio. Since each model portfolio is built from up to 12 funds, a reference portfolio may contain up to the same number of ETFs. A reference portfolio is constructed to most closely track periodic returns of the model portfolio, which is assumed to be rebalanced monthly to its target fund weights.

To cover the recent economic cycle, i.e. both the financial crisis and the subsequent market rebound, the common analysis period is from January 2008 through June 2018. The Fidelity Government Cash Reserves (FDRXX) money market fund is substituted by the SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) that has similar characteristics.

Model portfolios are analyzed in the increasing risk order.

Conservative Portfolio

The 20/80 (i.e. 20% equity + 80% fixed income) Conservative model portfolio consists of 14% domestic stocks, 6% foreign stocks, 50% bonds, and 30% short-term assets, in nine mutual funds. Over the analysis period, this portfolio failed to add value over its reference ETF portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Conservative Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a slightly lower volatility (measured by the annualized standard deviation of monthly returns) and comprised just six ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Conservative Portfolio

The reference positions were in the aforementioned BIL, iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF (IVW), iShares Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (IGIB, formerly CIU), Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), SPDR® Bloomberg Barclays TIPS ETF (IPE), and PWB – Invesco Dynamic Large Cap Growth ETF (PWB).

Moderate with Income Portfolio

The 30/70 Moderate with Income model portfolio consists of 21% domestic stocks, 9% foreign stocks, 50% bonds, and 20% short-term assets, spread over 11 mutual funds. Overall, this model portfolio added a small amount of value over its reference ETF portfolio; however, almost all of its relative gains were lost after mid-2015.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Moderate with Income Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a slightly lower volatility and held just five ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Moderate with Income Portfolio

The reference positions were the aforementioned BIL, IVW, BND, and CIU (IGIB), as well as the iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF (SCZ).

Moderate Portfolio

The 40/60 Moderate model portfolio consists of 28% domestic stocks, 12% foreign stocks, 45% bonds, and 15% short-term assets, implemented by 12 mutual funds. Since mid-2015, the model portfolio underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Moderate Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a lower volatility and was built with just five of the aforementioned ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Moderate Portfolio

Balanced Portfolio

The 50/50 Balanced model portfolio consists of 35% domestic stocks, 15% foreign stocks, 40% bonds, and 10% short-term assets, in 12 mutual funds. From mid-2013 onward, this model portfolio substantially underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Balanced Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a lower volatility and was built with just five ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Balanced Portfolio

The reference positions included the aforementioned IVW, BIL, and SCZ, as well as the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG), and iShares Morningstar Large-Cap Growth ETF (JKE).

Growth with Income Portfolio

The 60/40 Growth with Income model portfolio consists of 42% domestic stocks, 18% foreign stocks, 35% bonds, and 5% short-term assets, allocated across 12 mutual funds. From mid-2013 onward, this model portfolio significantly underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Growth with Income Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a lower volatility and was built with just five of aforementioned ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Growth with Income Portfolio

Growth Portfolio

The 70/30 Growth model portfolio consists of 49% domestic stocks, 21% foreign stocks, 25% bonds, and 5% short-term assets, allocated in 12 mutual funds. From late 2008 onward, this model portfolio significantly underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Growth Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a lower volatility and consisted of just six ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Growth Portfolio

The reference positions included the aforementioned IVW, SCZ, BIL, and BND, as well as the First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX® Fund (FXD), and iShares California Muni Bond ETF (CMF).

Aggressive Growth Portfolio

The 85/15 Aggressive Growth model portfolio consists of 60% domestic stocks, 25% foreign stocks, 15% bonds, and no short-term assets, allocated in 12 mutual funds. From mid-2010 onward, this model portfolio significantly underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Aggressive Growth Portfolio

The reference portfolio had equal volatility and consisted of just five ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Aggressive Growth Portfolio

The reference positions included the aforementioned IVW, SCZ, CMF, and PWB, as well as the Invesco DWA Momentum ETF (PDP).

Most Aggressive Portfolio

The 100/0 Most Aggressive model portfolio consists of 70% domestic stocks, 30% foreign stocks, and no bond or short-term assets, built from nine mutual funds. From early 2008 onward, this model portfolio significantly underperformed its reference portfolio.

Cumulative RealAlpha™ for Fidelity Most Aggressive Portfolio

The reference portfolio had a lower volatility and consisted of just five ETFs.

Reference Weights for Fidelity Most Aggressive Portfolio

The reference positions included the aforementioned SCZ, IVW, and PDP, as well as the First Trust US Equity Opportunities ETF (FPX), and iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF (IYC).

Conclusion

Over the past eight and a half years, the majority of Fidelity model portfolios failed to outperform their reference ETF counterparts. Only the Moderate with Income portfolio added a small amount of value on a cumulative basis. With nine to 12 distinct mutual funds, the model portfolio were also much more complex than their reference portfolio of five to six ETFs. From reference positions in IVW, JKE and similar ETFs, it is evident that all model portfolios had a strong tilt toward growth equities. Finally, although this analysis used net total returns of both mutual funds and ETFs, despite using several low-cost “enhanced” index funds model portfolios had higher expense ratios than those of their reference portfolios.

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Introducing CAPM Service
analysis

The latest service on the Alpholio™ patent-based analytical platform implements the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). Specifically, the service calculates the security characteristic line (SCL) with related statistics. In addition, the service provides statistics for the difference between periodic returns of the analyzed and reference securities.

In contrast to the traditional CAPM, which uses a theoretical market portfolio as a reference, the service allows the use of any available security. This has a practical implication of comparing concrete investment vehicles as opposed to evaluating a real security against an uninvestable “market” index, such as the S&P 500®. However, in both cases the reference is a single factor, whose periodic returns try to explain the returns of the analyzed security.

To demonstrate the service in action, let’s analyze the Vanguard Health Care Fund (VGHCX, Investor Shares; VGHAX, Admiral Shares). We covered this fund in one of the previous posts. This analysis will begin in January 2013, when the fund was fully taken over by its current manager.

Here are the fund’s exposures through June 2017, derived from the Fund Analysis service:

Reference Weights for Vanguard Health Care Fund Investor Shares (VGHCX)

The fund had equivalent positions in the Guggenheim S&P 500® Equal Weight Health Care ETF (RYH), iShares Global Healthcare ETF (IXJ) and iShares U.S. Pharmaceuticals ETF (IHE). Collectively, these positions formed a reference ETF portfolio with volatility comparable to that of the fund.

Let’s use the Total Return service to determine which of these three ETFs most closely tracked the fund’s returns over the same period:

Total Return of Vanguard Health Care Fund Investor Shares (VGHCX) and Reference ETFs (RYH, IXJ and IHE)

As could be expected, RYH, the ETF with the dominant weight in the reference portfolio, turned out to be the best fit. Therefore, let’s choose this ETF as a CAPM reference for the fund, using excess (i.e. net of risk-free rate) monthly returns of both securities:

CAPM for Vanguard Health Care Fund Investor Shares (VGHCX) and Guggenheim S&P 500® Equal Weight Health Care ETF (RYH)

The beta coefficient of the fund vs. the ETF was somewhat below one, a result of the slightly lower standard deviation (see statistics below the Total Return chart) and the 0.959 correlation coefficient (separately obtained from the Correlation service). With the t-statistic much higher than two, the beta coefficient was statistically significant. The alpha intercept, while positive, was not statistically significant. With the R-squared of almost 92, the regression fit was quite good.

Here is the expanded bottom panel of statistics:

Return Difference Statistics for Vanguard Health Care Fund Investor Shares (VGHCX) and Guggenheim S&P 500® Equal Weight Health Care ETF (RYH)

The mean difference between monthly returns of the fund and the ETF was slightly negative and had a substantial standard deviation. The low t-statistic indicated that the return difference was not statistically significant. By this measure, any value subtracted by active management of the fund could be attributed to bad luck and not a lack skill. If performance of the fund and the ETF were unchanged, it would take almost 212 years for the return difference to become statistically significant (and still be negative).

Since the fund had a considerable portion of its assets in foreign equities, IXJ could also be a relevant CAPM reference:

CAPM for Vanguard Health Care Fund Investor Shares (VGHCX) and iShares Global Healthcare ETF (IXJ)

In this case, the alpha intercept was large and statistically significant, although the R-squared was slightly lower. Similarly, the average return difference was a positive 0.35% and was statistically significant, requiring only 3.1 years to become so (statistics not shown here for brevity). This underscores that the choice of an appropriate reference security is critical because the CAPM regression uses only a single explanatory variable.

To try the new CAPM service, please register on our website.


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Factor ETFs from iShares
exchange-traded fund

iShares (owned by BlackRock), in conjunction with the Arizona State Retirement System, just introduced three new “factor” ETFs:

  • iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor Index Fund (ticker MTUM)
  • iShares MSCI USA Size Factor ETF (ticker SIZE)
  • iShares MSCI USA Value Factor ETF (ticker VLUE).

Why does this matter? The Fama-French three factor model, using the SMB and HML factors, explains over 90% of returns of diversified portfolios, instead of the average 70% explained by the CAPM. The model was further improved by Carhart with an addition of the fourth factor, momentum.

While time will tell how close (and for how long) the above ETFs track their underlying indices and theoretical factors, the introduction of these ETFs is yet another major industry trend in support of the Alpholio™ methodology.

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