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Asset class gameboard 1996-2015

Morningstar’s asset class 'gameboard' for 2015 is an excellent visual summary of how each asset class has performed over the last 20 years, and shows that no single asset class consistently outperforms the others. It also gives no hint into how the previous year's winners or losers will perform in the following year as the pattern appears random.

Click on the gameboard for an enlarged version. In case the fine print is a little too fine, here are the underlying data sources:

  • Cash - RBA Bank accepted Bills 90 Days
  • Fixed Interest - UBS Composite 0+ Yr TR AUD
  • Fixed Interest (Hedged) - BarCap Global Aggregate TR Hdg AUD
  • A-REITs - S&P/ASX 300 A-REIT TR
  • Equity - S&P/ASX 200 TR
  • Small Caps - S&P/ASX Small Ordinaries TR
  • Equity - MSCI World Ex Australia NR


Philip Carman
March 11, 2016

My own method of portfolio construction for clients with a lump sum is to start with 100% spread in Australian Fixed Interest (40%) and cash (60%) and then move into a mix of the rest using 10% each year (spread over mainly Oz and Int'l shares - most Australians have enough property) for three years, until we reach 30% "invested" position. Then I allow my client to choose whether they go further invested to risk over the next 2-4 years, using 5% to 10% each year. That allows dollar cost averaging; it allows the client to learn as they go; it allows NO LOSSES of the corpus over the first few years and after that it will be unlikely to ever slip below the starting point and it allows sufficient income to be generated for the client settle into retirement with no nasty surprises. If you look at the chart you'll see why my method works and is very popular, because returns are/have been pretty stable over any period, using this method.
We NEVER encourage ANYONE to go more than 50% into risk (i.e. non cash and short-dated fixed interest) if they are near retirement. If they do so, it's on their own head. We also NEVER recommend margin lending, despite upgrading our AFSL so that we can. We figure that if we weren't able to advise on Margin Lending we wouldn't be able to (credibly) advise AGAINST it. The logic is that if you need to borrow to invest you can't afford to and if you don't you'd use your own property as collateral for any loan for investment purposes... All simple, practical (un)common sense. Peter Thornhill's argument holds some water but is unhelpful for someone beginning with a substantial lump sum. It's too bound up in the common equity-driven thinking that may have been best over the past few decades but which could prove a little less successful over the next two decades as the Baby Boomers sell down their inflated assets...


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