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What's wrong with Wealthfront's Risk Parity Fund? Sleuthing using regression analysis

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In January, robo-advisor Wealthfront launched a risk parity fund. Risk parity means investing in multiple asset classes, and using leverage to increase the returns from the less volatile asset classes such as bonds.

The fund immediately attracted criticism for its high fees, which it soon cut. But it turns out there's more wrong with Wealthfront's risk parity fund than the fees. In April, I noted that the fund was already trailing both stocks and bonds, and trailing AQR's risk parity fund (AQRIX) by 4%. I suspected they had way too much leverage to bonds in a rising interest rate environment, and I investigated using a very simple regression analysis.

Indeed! Run the regression against just a 2-asset model of S&P and Lehman Agg. You'll find a huge beta to bonds -- about 3x that of AQR's risk parity fund. Sad! — W.C. Varones (@wcvarones) April 23, 2018
You can do regression analysis like this with a number of programs from Excel to more sophisticated tools like …

Life Imitates Art

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Greenspan visits the Emerald Isle

Irish Examiner:
Insolvency experts are warning that mortgage arrears are still leading some homeowners to thoughts of suicide as the level of insurmountable household debt remains stubbornly high.

The Association of Personal Insolvency Practitioners (APIP) also says the ongoing problem of mortgage arrears is going to exacerbate the homelessness crisis as lenders lose patience and push for repossession.

Eugene McDarby, APIP chairman, said the crisis is clear to the 80-plus PIPs operating across the country.

“In the past week alone, I have met three clients who have admitted to giving consideration to taking their own lives,” he said.

“To wake up every morning knowing that you are in danger of losing your home would take its toll on the most mentally tough person.

Most recent Central Bank figures show that almost one in every 11 residential mortgages — representing 66,479 households — was in arrears at the end of June this year.

Greenspan's Body Count: Shannan Watts, Celeste Watts, Bella Watts

Fox News:
Shanann Watts called her husband “my ROCK!” and the “best dad us girls could ask for” in what appeared to be an idyllic life on social media.

However, behind the scene, it was a different picture that ended with her and her daughters’ lives this week.

Watts and her husband Chris – who is accused of killing her and their two girls – appeared to be in dire financial strain.

Three years ago, they jointly filed for bankruptcy, citing more than $70,000 in debt, KDVR-TV reported.

The couple had a combined income of $90,000 in 2014. But they also had tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, along with student loans and medical bills — for a total of $70,000 in unsecured claims on top of a sizable mortgage.

They said in the filing their nearly $3,000 monthly mortgage payments and $600 in monthly car payments formed the bulk of their $4,900 in monthly expenses.

On Wednesday, Chris Watts, 33, was arrested and held on three counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing h…

Primary Election Day in California

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Don't vote! It only encourages them!

Democracy Dies in Dumbness

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American democracy: choosing your rulers based on name recognition and sound bites from the vapid and corrupt news media.

Or, better yet, on red-vs-blue tribalism.


Yet another way Obamacare makes healthcare more expensive

Eight years too late, NPR discovers that Obamacare has explicit incentives for insurers to make procedures cost more:
The Affordable Care Act kept profit margins in check by requiring companies to use at least 80 percent of the premiums for medical care. That's good in theory, but it actually contributes to rising health care costs. If the insurance company has accurately built high costs into the premium, it can make more money. Here's how: Let's say administrative expenses eat up about 17 percent of each premium dollar and around 3 percent is profit. Making a 3 percent profit is better if the company spends more.

It's as if a mom told her son he could have 3 percent of a bowl of ice cream. A clever child would say, "Make it a bigger bowl."

Wonks call this a "perverse incentive." Read the whole thing. It's infuriating.

Politicians, particularly on the left, are complete idiots when it comes to understanding economic incentives. They should neve…