The following backtests show performance of Portfolio Armor's hedged portfolio method at various thresholds. In general, the higher the threshold (i.e., the greater the downside an investor is willing to risk over each 6 month period), the higher the compound annual growth rate (CAGR). During the backtests, to be conservative, put options were purchased at the closing ask price, and calls were sold at the closing bid price; options were exited at the midpoint of the closing bid-ask spread, or their intrinsic values, whichever was higher. Because hedged portfolios were graphed at their exit prices, and trading costs were deducted, the starting values shown for the first hedged portfolios in each backtest are less than $100,000.
If you have your own proprietary security selection method, it’s possible that you could generate even better returns using a hedged portfolio strategy. We can build and backtest a hedged portfolio strategy for you using our hedging algorithm and your security selection method, or, a combination of your security selection method and ours. For inquiries, feel free to contact us.
Our hypothetical backtested returns start at the beginning of 2003, because this was the first point at which we had complete options data to conduct our tests. Hedged portfolios were run for six months, or until all positions had been exited, whichever came first, and then the ending dollar amount of the first portfolio was used as the starting dollar amount of the second sequential portfolio, and so on, until the end of our data series on 4/30/2014. Hedged portfolios contained between 1 and 5 hedged underlying security positions.
When there were no securities available with positive net potential returns (usually, because hedging costs were too high), the last portfolio ending dollar amount was held as cash until the start of the next hedged portfolio. During these periods, we treat the cash as if it were held in a non-interest bearing account, so the dollar amount invested remains constant until the start of the next hedged portfolio. Within hedged portfolios, residual cash positions were treated as if they were invested in a money market fund, earning the yield prevailing at the time (during much of this time period, that yield was negligible).
Within hedged portfolios, positions in underlying securities were entered at their unadjusted closing prices, with trading commissions of $7.95 deducted.4 To facilitate performance tracking, the dollar amounts allocated to these underlying securities were converted to the equivalent numbers of each security at its adjusted closing price on the start date of the portfolio.5 Underlying security positions were exited at their adjusted closing prices, with trading commissions of $7.95 deducted.
During the simulation, to be conservative, puts were purchased at the closing ask price, and calls were sold at the closing bid price; options were exited at the midpoint of the closing bid-ask spread or their intrinsic value, whichever was higher ("last" prices weren't used because in many cases with options, the last price might be weeks old). Each time options positions were entered or exited, a trading fee of $7.95 + $0.75 per option contract was deducted.
Positions were generally held for six months or until their hedges expired, whichever came first. To facilitate performance tracking, positions in underlying securities that split within a few months of being added to a hedged portfolio were exited on the last trading day prior to the split. Also to facilitate performance tracking, certain options that didn’t have complete price histories under one symbol (such as pre-standardized LEAPS) were eliminated from consideration. Eliminating these options likely increased the hedging cost of our portfolios slightly and, consequently, reduced their returns slightly.
Backtested hedged portfolio performance varied depending on starting dates: in the backtests shown on this site, we started searching for a new hedged portfolio on the same date we exited the previous one. In some cases, delaying the start of that search by one day resulted in lower performance. But in no case did any hedged portfolio decline by more than its threshold in our backtests.
For the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), shown in our graphs for comparison purposes, adjusted shares were used to track performance. In this simulation, $100,000 was invested on the start date, and dividends and any other distributions were reinvested for the duration of the backtest. No trading fees were deducted from the SPY position.