How Strong Is Your Stomach?

The vast majority of the time, most investors are not terribly concerned with their risk tolerance. Typically, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a measure of S&P 500 volatility, sits comfortably below 20 and financial markets exhibit a consistent upward trend. However, as 2020 can attest, markets don’t always behave this way. Earlier this year the…

Order Matters

Many investors, especially those with longer time horizons, tend to overlook the impact that volatility can have on their portfolio. However, the path of returns is not a factor to be ignored and a recent piece by Amy Arnott helps illustrate this point through several examples. She highlights the impact of positive returns early in…

Part 4 – One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Assessing Suitability in the Context of Uncertainty


This installment in our volatility series will aim to provide a framework that helps to quantify an investor’s ability and willingness to take risk based on constraints and the importance of reaching wealth targets. Additionally, I will finally add varying returns into the analysis to illustrate the impact of the risk and return trade-off. Through simple examples and simulations, I will show that understanding an investor’s total financial picture and applying a probabilistic framework for risk management can help achieve desired outcomes in the face of uncertainty.

Vitamin D: Harvesting the Diversification Premium Through Prudent Leverage

In our latest Insight piece, we explore the parallels between the poker table and the world of investing by studying the nuances of risk and uncertainty. Authors Scott Smith (Managing Partner) and Ben Reeves (Manager, Data Science & Engineering) demonstrate how utilizing a Risk Parity strategy can help investors embrace uncertainty and derive more stable investment outcomes.

Part 3 – Going the Distance: How to Conquer the Challenges Imposed by Liquidity Requirements


In the third installment of our deep dive on volatility, Amin Haji, Manager of Investment Research and Analytics, discusses how portfolio constraints can affect your ability to take risk, focusing on time horizon and liquidity constraints. Using succinct examples, Amin explores whether or not liquidity needs have an effect on how impactful volatility is to your long-term wealth, and how simply having a longer time horizon may not in fact lower your ability to take risk, as conventional investing wisdom would have you believe.

Part 2 – Volatility, A Skewed Reality


Volatility drag – or how volatility exacerbates the divergence between arithmetic returns and geometric returns – is something that is often debated by investment managers and investors alike. A common argument is that while higher volatility increases your downside, it can also increase your potential upside and therefore it may be rational to be risk-seeking to some extent. Another argument is that with a long enough time horizon, investors don’t actually need to worry about volatility, because they can tolerate the ups and downs of the market.

Preparation vs. Prediction

After a precipitous decline from February 19th to March 23rd, equity markets have rebounded significantly. Simultaneously, oil prices and volatility have experienced extreme fluctuations, central banks are implementing waves of stimulus, and governments are considering the relaxation of social distancing restrictions. This leaves many investors, including the famed and veteran varieties, unsure on a path…

Part 1 – Volatility, What a Drag


Over the past couple of months, investors of all types have likely been caught off guard by global events that caused massive swings in the market value of their portfolio holdings. Unfortunately, some have realized that their investments were far too risky and have lost more than they could tolerate. The old gambler’s adage of not risking more than you are willing to lose holds true for investors as well – but how do we know how much is really at risk?

ETFs Tested: COVID Free!

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about how passive investing and the rise of exchange traded funds (ETFs) would be the next financial market bubble that would wreak havoc for investors. There hasn’t been a period of panic in financial markets similar to what occurred in 2008 to test the mettle of ETF products – that is, until the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Why You Should Expect Some Underperformance

Investment managers that employ trend-following strategies have had a challenging few years. Though not as significant as the underperformance realized by the value factor (relative to the growth factor), the last eighteen months of sideways, volatile price action in global equity markets has some pioneers of trend-following strategies questioning whether the strategy is still viable….