On “Triple” and “Quadruple” Witching Day?

By Staff Reporters

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The final hour of trading on a Friday when stock index futures, stock index options, and stock options all expire. This happens on the third Friday in March, June, September, and December. See Quadruple Witching Hour.

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According to TheStreet, Inc

Triple witching sounds like something from a horror movie, but it’s actually a financial term. Options and derivatives traders know this phenomenon well because it’s the day when three different types of contracts expire. It happens only once a quarter and can cause wild swings in volatility, as large institutional traders roll over futures contracts to free up cash. Doing so creates a ton of increased volume—sometimes 50% higher than average, especially in the last trading hour of the day—but individual investors needn’t feel spooked. In fact, some might even view this volatility as a profit-making opportunity.

Which 3 Types of Derivative Contracts Expire on Triple Witching Day?

  1. Stock Options: These are contracts taken out on the direction of a stock price at a future date. Unlike stocks, they’re not an investment in a company; rather, they’re the right to buy or sell shares of a company at a later time frame. Calls let you buy stock shares at a set price, known as the strike price, on or before the expiration date. Puts give you the right to sell shares.
  2. Index Options: These are futures contracts on a stock index, such as the S&P 500. These options are settled in cash.
  3. Index Futures: These are futures contracts on equity indexes. These contracts are also settled in cash.

A futures contract is also referred to as an “anticipated hedge” because it’s used to lock in prices on future buy or sell transactions. These hedges are a way to protect a portfolio from market setbacks without selling long-term holdings.

It’s worth noting that a few times a year, single stock futures also expire on witching day, adding a fourth asset to the trading cauldron, and that’s why some investors refer to this date as “quadruple witching,” although the terms are interchangeable.

When Is Triple Witching? Triple Witching Calendar 2022

In modern trading, triple witching happens on the third Friday of March, June, September, and December (the last month of each quarter).

Upcoming Triple Witching Dates

  • Friday, March 18, 2022
  • Friday, June 17, 2022
  • Friday, September 16, 2022
  • Friday, December 16, 2022

What Is the Witching Hour?

In the U.S. stock market, the last hour of the trading day, before the closing bell, sees the most trading activity, so the witching hour is from 3–4 pm EST. In folklore, the “witching hour” actually happens in the dead of night, from 3–4 am. It was known as a time when spirits reached the height of their powers. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church even banned people from venturing outside during this time, so as not to get caught in the chaos.

Today, such ideas aren’t taken any more seriously than mere superstition, but triple witching can cause chaos among investors, if they are not aware of what is happening.

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What Happens During Triple Witching?

As you might imagine, a lot of trading activity happens in the market when stock options, index options, and index futures contracts all expire. We’re talking a lot of money here: during Triple Witching in September 2021, for example, around $3.4 trillion of equity options expired.

So, what exactly is going on? Should they keep their hedges on? Should they speculate? Should they roll, or close out, their contracts, and if so, by how much? This is what generates the increased trading activity, and the large trades, especially from offsetting trades, can cause temporary price distortions. 

At the same instant that the derivatives contracts expire, the anticipatory hedges that traders have placed become unnecessary, and so traders also seek to close these hedges, and the offsetting trades result in increased volume. These large volume increases can in turn cause price swing (i.e., volatility) in the underlying assets. 

How Does Triple Witching Affect the Stock Market?

Triple witching itself doesn’t move the stock market; it just creates increased volume. In the same way, the expiration of the options and futures contracts don’t necessarily result in volatility—that’s caused by the actions that traders take based on the temporary price fluctuations of their underlying assets which can be moved due to the increased volume.

When this happens, arbitrageurs try to take advantage, often making trades that are completed in mere seconds. An arbitrageur is a trader who looks for price inefficiencies in a security and then seeks to make a profit by buying and selling it simultaneously. This practice involves much risk.

Is Triple Witching Bullish or Bearish?

Historically speaking, triple witching is not always an “up” day, and it’s not always a “down” day for the markets. It does not signify a trend. Typically, it neither moves the market significantly higher nor lower; it simply adds a temporary increase in volume and liquidity.

However, it’s important to note that market volumes also tend to be higher on index re-balancing day as well as during and after broader macroeconomic news events, and so, when taken in tandem with triple witching, these events can cause big moves in the market.

Examples of Triple Witching Volatility in Light of News Events

On June 18, 2021, a record number—$818 billion—of stock options expired, which led to nearly $3 trillion in “open interest,” or open contracts. On this day, the Federal Reserve also announced that it might raise interest rates in 2023 due to inflationary pressures. These news events resulted in increased volatility, and the S&P 500 lost 1.3% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.6%.

On September 17th, 2021, one week ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting, market volatility was growing based on mounting concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant impacting the economy as well as the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would begin to unwind its monetary stimulus. These news events, taken along with the S&P 500’s quarterly index rebalancing, which also happened that day, caused the S&P 500 to lose 1%. 

Is There Such a Thing as “Quadruple” Witching?

Single Stock Futures are the fourth type of derivative contract which can expire on triple witching day. This can cause the phenomenon to be called “quadruple witching,” although one term can replace the other. Single stock futures are futures contracts placed on individual stocks, with one contract controlling 100 shares being typical. They are a hedging tool that was previously banned from trading in the United States. The Commodity Futures Modernization Act lifted the ban in 2000, and single stock futures were traded on the One Chicago Exchange from November, 2002 until September, 2020, although currently they are only available on overseas financial markets.

MORE: https://www.tradestation.com/insights/2022/02/03/quadruple-witching-dates-2022-trading/

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How Did Triple Witching Affect 1987’s “Black Monday?”

On October 19th, 1987, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22.6% in a single trading session. The day became known as “Black Monday,” but triple witching events, which took place the Friday before, on October 16, 1987, had caused the selloff of options and futures contracts to rapidly accelerate, resulting in stocks tanking in pre-day trading. The massive sell orders were left unchecked by any kinds of systematic stop gaps, and so financial markets roiled globally throughout the day. This stock market crash was the greatest one-day decline to occur since the Great Depression in 1929.

Taking lessons from the event, regulators moved the options expiration from the morning to the afternoon and put “circuit breakers” into place that would let the exchanges temporarily halt trading in the event of another massive sell off.

How Can Investors Prepare for Triple Witching Days? 

The triple witching takeaway is that investors should be aware of what happens on these days and understand that there is a lot more volume in the markets. There could be some drastic price swings, but investors shouldn’t be carried away by any short-term emotions (which, really, is great advice any day in the markets).

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Behavioral Finance for Doctors?

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On the Psychology of Investing [Book Review]

By Peter Benedek, PhD CFA

Founder: www.RetirementAction.com

Some of the pioneers of behavioral finance are Drs. Kahneman, Twersky and Thaler. This short introduction to the subject is based on John Nofsinger’s little book entitled “Psychology of Investing” an excellent quick read for all medical professionals or anyone who is interested in learning more about behavioral finance.

Rational Decisions?

Much of modern finance is built on the assumption that investors “make rational decisions” and “are unbiased in their predictions about the future”, however this is not always the case.

Cognitive errors come from (1) prospect theory (people feel good/bad about gain/loss of $500, but not twice as good/bad about a gain/loss of $1,000; they feel worse about a $500 loss than feel good about a $500 gain); (2) mental accounting (meaning that people tend to create separate buckets which they examine individually), (3) Self-deception (e.g. overconfidence), (4) heuristic simplification (shortcuts) and (4) mood can affect ability to reach a logical conclusion.

John Nofsinger’s Book

The following are some of the major chapter headings in Nofsinger’s book, and represent some of the key behavioral finance concepts.

Overconfidence leads to: (1) excessive trading (which in turn results in lower returns due to costs incurred), (2) underestimation of risk (portfolios of decreasing risk were found for single men, married men, married women, and single women), (3) illusion of knowledge (you can get a lot more data nowadays on the internet) and (4) illusion of control (on-line trading).

Pride and Regret leads to: (1) disposition effect (not only selling winners and holding on to the losers, but selling winners too soon- confirming how smart I was, and losers to late- not admitting a bad call, even though selling losers increases one’s wealth due to the tax benefits), (2) reference points (the point from where one measures gains or losses is not necessarily the purchase price, but may perhaps be the most recent 52 week high and it is most likely changing continuously- clearly such a reference point will affect investor’s judgment by perhaps holding on to “loser” too long when in fact it was a winner.)

Considering the Past in decisions about the future, when future outcomes are independent of the past lead to a whole slew of more bad decisions, such as: (1) house money effect (willing to increase the level of risk taken after recent winnings- i.e. playing with house’s money), (2) risk aversion or snake-bite effect (becoming more risk averse after losing money), (3) trying to break-even (at times people will increase their willing to take higher risk to try to recover their losses- e.g. double or nothing), (4) endowment or status quo effect (often people are only prepared to sell something they own for more than they would be willing to buy it- i.e. for investments people tend to do nothing, just hold on to investments they already have) (5) memory and decision making ( decisions are affected by how long ago did the pain/pleasure occur or what was the sequence of pain and pleasure), (6) cognitive dissonance (people avoid important decisions or ignore negative information because of pain associated with circumstances).

Mental Accounting is the act of bucketizing investments and then reviewing the performance of the individual buckets separately (e.g. investing at low savings rate while paying high credit card interest rates).

Examples of mental accounting are: (1) matching costs to benefits (wanting to pay for vacation before taking it and getting paid for work after it was done, even though from perspective of time value of money the opposite should be preferred0, (2) aversion to debt (don’t like long-term debt for short-term benefit), (3) sunk-cost effect (illogically considering non-recoverable costs when making forward-going decisions). In investing, treating buckets separately and ignoring interaction (correlations) induces people not to sell losers (even though they get tax benefits), prevent them from investing in the stock market because it is too risky in isolation (however much less so when looked at as part of the complete portfolio including other asset classes and labor income and occupied real estate), thus they “do not maximize the return for a given level of risk taken).

In building portfolios, assets included should not be chosen on basis of risk and return only, but also correlation; even otherwise well educated individuals make the mistake of assuming that adding a risky asset to a portfolio will increase the overall risk, when in fact the opposite will occur depending on the correlation of the asset to be added with the portfolio (i.e. people misjudge or disregard interactions between buckets, which are key determinants of risk).

This can lead to: (1) building behavioral portfolios (i.e. safety, income, get rich, etc type sub-portfolios, resulting in goal diversification rather than asset diversification), (2) naïve diversification (when aiming for 50:50 stock:bond allocation implementing this as 50:50 in both tax-deferred (401(k)/RRSP) accounts and taxable accounts, rather than placing the bonds in the tax-deferred and stocks in taxable accounts respectively for tax advantages), (3) naïve diversification in retirement accounts (if five investment options are offered then investing 1/5th in each, thus getting an inappropriate level of diversification or no diversification depending on the available choices; or being too heavily invested in one’s employer’s stock).

Representativeness may lead investors to confusing a good company with a good investment (good company may already be overpriced in the market; extrapolating past returns or momentum investing), and familiarity to over-investment in one’s own employer (perhaps inappropriate as when stock tanks one’s job may also be at risk) or industry or country thus not having a properly diversified portfolio.

Emotions can affect investment decisions: mood/feelings/optimism will affect decision to buy or sell risky or conservative assets, even though the mood resulted from matters unrelated to investment. Social interactions such as friends/coworkers/clubs and the media (e.g. CNBC) can lead to herding effects like over (under) valuation.

Financial Strategies

Nofsinger finishes with a final chapter which includes strategies for:

(i) beating the biases: (1) Understand the biases, (2) define your investment objectives, (3) have quantitative investment criteria, i.e. understand why you are buying a specific investor (or even better invest in a passive fashion), (4) diversify among asset classes and within asset classes (and don’t over invest in your employer’s stock), and (5) control your investment environment (check on stock monthly, trade only monthly and review progress toward goals annually).

(ii) using biases for the good: (1) set new employee defaults for retirement plans to being enrolled, (2) get employees to commit some percent of future raises to automatically go toward retirement (save-more-tomorrow).

Assessment

Buy the book (you can get used copies at through Amazon for under $10). As indicated it is a quick read and occasionally you may even want to re-read it to insure you avoid the biases or use them for the good. Also, the book has long list of references for those inclined to delve into the subject more deeply.

You might even ask “How does all this Behavioral Finance coexist with Efficient Market theory?” and that’s a great question that I’ll leave for another time.

More: SSRN-id2596202

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

Medical Endowment Fund Manager Selection

Are External Financial Consultants Necessary?

[By Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA CMP]

http://www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

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John English, of the Ford Foundation, once observed that:

[T]he thing that is most interesting to me is that every one of the managers is able to give me a chart that shows me he was in the first quartile or the first decile. I have never had a prospective manager come in and say, ‘We’re in the fourth quartile or bottom decile’.

According to Wayne Firebaugh CPA, CFP® CMP™ most medical endowment funds today, even those with internal investment staff, rely heavily upon consultants and external managers.

In fact, the 2006 Commonfund Benchmarks Healthcare Study revealed that 85% of all surveyed institutions relied upon consultants with an even greater percentage of larger endowments relying upon consultants.  The common reasons given by endowments for such reliance are augmenting staff and oddly enough, cost containment.  In essence, the endowment staff’s job becomes one of managing the managers.

Manager Selection 

Even those endowments that use consultants to assist in selecting outside managers remain involved in the selection and monitoring process.  Interestingly, performance should generally not be the overriding criterion for selecting a manager.  Selecting a manager could be viewed as a two-step process in which the endowment first establishes its initial allocation and determines what classes will require an external manager.  The second part of the process is to select a manager that due diligence has indicated to have two primary characteristics: integrity and a repeatable and sustainable systematic process.  These characteristics are interrelated, as a manager who embodies integrity will also strive to follow the established investment selection process.

Of Medical-Managers

In medicine, obtaining the best care often means consulting a specialist.  As a manager of managers, the average endowment should seek specialist managers within a given asset class. Just as physicians and healthcare institutions gain additional insight and skill in their area of specialty, investment managers may be able to gain informational or system advantages within a given concentrated area of investments.

Assessment

Since most plan managers are seeking positive alpha by actively managing certain asset classes, many successful endowments will use a greater number of external managers in the concentrated segments than they will in the larger, more efficient markets.

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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HEDGE FUNDS: History in Brief

ABOUT | DAVID EDWARD MARCINKO

BY DR. DAVID E. MARCINKO MBA CMP®

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The investment profession has come a long way since the door-to-door stock salesmen of the 1920s sold a willing public on worthless stock certificates. The stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing Great Depression of the 1930s forever changed the way investment operations are run. A bewildering array of laws and regulations sprung up, all geared to protecting the individual investor from fraud. These laws also set out specific guidelines on what types of investment can be marketed to the general public – and allowed for the creation of a set of investment products specifically not marketed to the general public. These early-mid 20th century lawmakers specifically exempted from the definition of “general public,” for all practical purposes, those investors that meet certain minimum net worth guidelines.

The lawmakers decided that wealth brings the sophistication required to evaluate, either independently or together with wise counsel, investment options that fall outside the mainstream. Not surprisingly, an investment industry catering to such wealthy individuals, such as doctors and healthcare professionals, and qualifying institutions has sprung up.

EARLY DAYS

The original hedge fund was an investment partnership started by A.W. Jones in 1949. A financial writer prior to starting his investment management career, Mr. Jones is widely credited as being the prototypical hedge fund manager. His style of investment in fact gave the hedge fund its name – although Mr. Jones himself called his fund a “hedged fund.” Mr. Jones attempted to “hedge,” or protect, his investment partnership against market swings by selling short overvalued securities while at the same time buying undervalued securities. Leverage was an integral part of the strategy. Other managers followed in Mr. Jones’ footsteps, and the hedge fund industry was born.

In those early days, the hedge fund industry was defined by the types of investment operations undertaken – selling short securities, making liberal use of leverage, engaging in arbitrage and otherwise attempting to limit one’s exposure to market swings. Today, the hedge fund industry is defined more by the structure of the investment fund and the type of manager compensation employed.

The changing definition is largely a sign of the times. In 1949, the United States was in a unique state. With the memory of Great Depression still massively influencing common wisdom on stocks, the post-war euphoria sparked an interest in the securities markets not seen in several decades. Perhaps it is not so surprising that at such a time a particularly reflective financial writer such as A.W. Jones would start an investment operation featuring most prominently the protection against market swings rather than participation in them. 

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Apart from a few significant hiccups – 1972-73, 1987 and 2006-07 being most prominent – the U.S. stock markets have been on quite a roll for quite a long time now. So today, hedge funds come in all flavors – many not hedged at all. Instead, the concept of a private investment fund structured as a partnership, with performance incentive compensation for the manager, has come to dominate the mindscape when hedge funds are discussed. Hence, we now have a term in “hedge fund” that is not always accurate in its description of the underlying activity. In fact, several recent events have contributed to an even more distorted general understanding of hedge funds.

During 1998, the high profile Long Term Capital Management crisis and the spectacular currency losses experienced by the George Soros organization both contributed to a drastic reversal of fortune in the court of public opinion for hedge funds. Most hedge fund managers, who spend much of their time attempting to limit risk in one way or another, were appalled at the manner with which the press used the highest profile cases to vilify the industry as dangerous risk-takers. At one point during late 1998, hedge funds were even blamed in the lay press for the currency collapses of several developing nations; whether this was even possible got short thrift in the press.

Needless to say, more than a few managers have decided they did not much appreciate being painted with the same “hedge fund” brush. Alternative investment fund, private investment fund, and several other terms have been promoted but inadequately adopted. As the memory of 1998 and 2007 fades, “hedge fund” may once again become a term embraced by all private investment managers.

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ASSESSMENT: Physicians, and all investors, should be aware, however, that several different terms defining the same basic structure might be used. Investors should therefore become familiar with the structure of such funds, independent of the label. The Securities Exchange Commission calls such funds “privately offered investment companies” and the Internal Revenue Service calls them “securities partnerships.”

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What if the Bear Market is OVER?

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By Michael A. Gayed, CFA

Portfolio Manager of the ATAC Rotation Funds

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Bob Farrell is a legendary Wall Street trader and market analyst. He’s perhaps best-known for his “10 rules” of investing that he developed based on his 50-year career in the industry. One of the more popular rules says that “when all the experts and forecasts agree, something else is going to happen.”Right now, almost everyone is expecting a recession driven by high inflation, rising interest rates and geopolitical risks. The S&P 500 is still more than 10% off of its highs, while the NASDAQ 100 is down by more than 20%. Many feel as if more downside is ahead, but what if they’re wrong? What if the bottom is already in? What if the worst is over?

My take? I have no idea. I believe there’s still a bigger and more traditional classic “risk-off” period coming where stocks decline and Treasuries rally in price (which is what historically happens during periods of heightened equity volatility), but the path to get there is what drives investor sentiment. And like everyone else in this business, I can’t tell the future. All I can do is identify conditions in a rules-based fashion that favor an outcome.The important thing to remember here is that the market isn’t the economy. The financial markets are often leading indicators of where investors feel things are going. The actual data is only showing how conditions are or were.

Take the 2020 COVID recession, for example. Once the government announced its multi-trillion dollar stimulus program, stock prices shot higher even though the worst of the economic pain had yet to be experienced.Today, some of the data isn’t even indicating imminent danger.
High yield spreads tend to blow out ahead of a recession. They’re currently not at the levels reached during 2016, 2018 or 2020. Investors often view the 10-year/2-year Treasury yield spread as the “recession indicator”. This number did briefly turn negative earlier this year, but has remained in positive territory ever since. While both of these numbers have teased the idea of higher risk conditions ahead, neither has done so in convincing fashion yet.Also consider that the markets tend to be very sensitive to what the Fed does. If the central bank ever decides that recession risk is too high and it hits the pause button on the rate hiking cycle, it could be off to the races again for equity prices. Risk asset prices have the ability to react favorably to looser monetary conditions. Any pivot in that direction could give a big boost to investor sentiment.

If the bear market is over, the ATAC Rotation Fund (ATACX), the ATAC U.S. Rotation ETF (RORO) and the ATAC Credit Rotation ETF (JOJO) could be primed to benefit.We believe all three funds use proven market signals to determine whether they should be positioned either offensively or defensively. Since investors often flock to safety in times of market volatility, the three funds use Treasuries as the “risk-off” or defensive asset class. Admittedly, Treasuries haven’t acted as they historically do relative to equities when in high volatility states. But that doesn’t mean things won’t revert back to historical behavior in the small sample of the here and now.When the signals suggest that conditions are more favorable, the funds can go “risk-on”.

In the case of RORO and ATACX, that could include some combination of large-cap stocks, small-caps and emerging markets. JOJO remains in the fixed income markets and targets junk bonds in this scenario.RORO and ATACX also use leverage, which offers higher return potential. Why? Because leveraging equities when risk-on helps to, over time, counter the impact of being in Treasuries when stocks continue to move higher and with hindsight, risk-off positioning there wasn’t warranted.

Of course this is a double-edged sword, since in a year like this year, the leveraged risk-on position in stocks earlier in the year led to a sizeable decline for both ATACX and RORO. However, over multiple roll of the die, it is that leverage which gives investors the opportunity to capture above average returns in more traditional markets when combined with occasional risk-off periods where Treasuries perform well.High volatility markets don’t need to be feared.

We believe strategies that add and remove market risk based on what the market is telling us give investors the opportunity to earn superior risk-adjusted returns while lowering downside risk. If the markets are ready to begin the next leg higher, the ATAC funds stand ready to benefit while (hopefully) Treasuries get back to doing what they normally would in true risk-off periods .

At some point.

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Money Management and Portfolio Performance

Money Management and Portfolio Performance

By Jeffrey S. Coons; PhD, CFA

By Christopher J. Cummings; CFA, CFP™

Evaluating portfolio performance is a vital and often contentious topic in monitoring progress towards a physician’s investment goals.   

Introduction 

A typical portfolio’s objective may be to preserve the purchasing power of its assets by achieving returns above inflation – or to have total returns adequate to satisfy an annual spending need without eroding original capital, etc.  Whatever the absolute goal for the doctor; performance numbers need to be evaluated based on an understanding of the market environment over the period being measured.

One way to put a portfolio’s a time-weighted return in the context of the overall market environment is to compare the performance to relevant alternative investment vehicles.   This can be done through comparisons to either market indices, which are board baskets of investable securities, or peer groups, which are collections of returns from managers or funds investing in a similar universe of securities with similar objectives as the portfolio.

By evaluating the performance of alternatives that were available over the period, the physician investor and/or his/her advisor are able to gain insight to the general investment environment over the time period.

The Indices 

Market indices are frequently used to gain perspective on the market environment and to evaluate how well the portfolio performed relative to that environment. 

Market indices are typically segmented into different asset classes.

Common stock market indices include the following:

· Dow Jones Industrial Average – a price-weighted index of 30 large U.S. corporations.

· Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 Index – a capitalization-weighted index of 500 large U.S. corporations.

· Value Line Index – an equally-weighted index of 1700 large U.S. corporations.

· Russell 2000 – a capitalization-weighted index of smaller capitalization U.S. companies.

· Wilshire 5000 – a cap weighted index of the 5000 largest U.S. corporations.

· Morgan Stanley Europe Australia, Far East (EAFE) Index – a capitalization-weighted index of the stocks traded in developed economies. 

Common bond market indices include the following:

· Lehman Brothers Government Credit Index – an index of investment grade domestic bonds excluding mortgages.

· Lehman Brothers Aggregate Index – the LBGCI plus investment grade mortgages.

· Solomon Brothers Bond Index – similar in construction to the LBAI.

· Merrill Lynch High Yield Index – an index of below investment grade bonds.

· JP Morgan Global Government Bond – an index of domestic and foreign government-issued fixed income securities.

Assessment

The selection of an appropriate market index depends on the goals of the portfolio and the universe of securities from which the portfolio was selected. 

Just as a portfolio with a short-time horizon and a primary goal of capital preservation should not be expected to perform in line with the S&P 500, a portfolio with a long-term horizon and a primary goal of capital growth should not be evaluated versus Treasury Bills.

Conclusion 

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are often quoted in the newspapers, there are clearly broader market indices available to describe the overall performance of the U.S. stock market.

Likewise, indices like the S&P 500 and Wilshire 5000 are capitalization-weighted, so their returns are generally dominated by the largest 50 of their 500 – 5000 stocks.

Fortunately, capitalization-bias does not typically affect long-term performance comparisons, but there may be periods of time in which large cap stocks out-or under-perform mid-to-small cap stocks, thus creating a bias when cap-weighted indices are used versus what is usually non-cap weighted strategies of managers or mutual funds.

Finally, the fixed income indices tend to have a bias towards intermediate-term securities versus longer-term bonds.  Therefore, a physician investor with a long-term time horizon, and therefore potentially a higher allocation to long bonds, should keep this bias in mind when evaluating performance.

How do you evaluate your portfolio?

Do you evaluate it on a risk-adjusted basis?

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