ZuluTrade Blog

Portfolio structure. The basics: Rebalancing

Knowledge Crunch | Monday, April 26, 2021 4:39 PM GMT

After a portfolio is being set and implemented to live market condition, someone would think that our “job” is complete. This is not the case.

A portfolio would not be successfully completed without the routine procedure of rebalancing.
Rebalancing is simply put, the act of replacement of a product or strategy that underperforms considerably with a much more promising substitute.
All of the long-lasting successful products experience some kind of rebalancing, whether it’s an Index or a Portfolio, all of them are being manipulated in a way where every month, year, the decade they possess the best combination possible.
In order to be able to perform a rebalance in a portfolio, it is required to have two lists.

1. The products that underperform
2. Possible replacements

How can these lists be created?
To begin with the easier part.
A replacement can be any product or strategy that fits the same standards that its predecessor did.
If it possesses the correct technical aspects and values of a portfolio addition then it should be included in the candidates' list.

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On the other hand, the list with the underperforming products is a little bit more complicated.
In most cases, there is not an exact filter or metric which can be used in order to assess if a strategy or a financial instrument underperforms.
Judging a strategy for each validity can be a daunting task, however, there are some well-known, warning signals that can be used in order to simplify the process.

a. New maximum values.
Either it’s the Drawdown, the number of open positions, the biggest or average value of lot size, whenever a new maximum value appears it is a sign that something might be “breaking”.

b. Equity’s volatility is contracting.
This is major and it requires an experienced “eye” to understand. In classic technical analysis, the contraction of volatility is an early sign of future price expansion. This means either upwards or downwards.
Similarly, in trading equity, the contraction of the cumulative PnL means that an imminent move is about to happen (upwards or downwards). Most of the time, this is a sign that the underlying asset that is being traded has shifted its behavior and the algorithmic system was not able to adjust.

c. A dramatic shift in trading volume/frequency.
Likewise, this should be alarming. When a system increases or decreases its activity in relation to its past performance then you should probably be on the lookout for an imminent PnL fluctuation.

Tip: Though these occurrences might signal a major change in a system, they are always dependent on the length of the trader’s performance history, as the bigger, the data set the higher the importance of a metric.

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The act (art) of Rebalance.
Having performed all the above, you are now ready to rebalance your portfolio.
But how does a proper rebalancing take effect?
First of all, you need to search in your substitutes list, the perfect match for your portfolio.
This does not translate into the highest performing strategy/product.
You need to remember that maintaining the desired diversification and risk limitations is far more important than some extra profit to your account.
This means that removing an Asia session scalping strategy in Eur/Usd should be replaced by something similar or else the whole portfolio’s risk balance will deviate considerably.
Rebalancing also means taking a loss from time to time. This is where a professional investor is separated from an amateur gambler.
Accepting a current loss that is manageable instead of letting a “broken” strategy inflict severe damage to your account might mean the difference between having a positive yearly ROI than a negative one.
Timing is also important. But it is not easily achieved, as it involves a multi-year experience in active trading and sometimes, also luck.
Basically, timing and conviction will get you very far, should you also combine them with basic investing knowledge.

In conclusion, it is fairly obvious that portfolio creation and monitoring is not an easygoing or simple task. Not everyone can do it and frankly, it is not required by all of you. There are specific professionals that devote their time and expertise in order to set up and manage a successful portfolio. ZuluTrade for example has a certified team that does this very exact job. And though there are always numerous obstacles ahead, their
results are becoming more and more promising.

Disclaimer
The views expressed do not constitute investment or any other advice /recommendation /suggestion and are subject to change. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Opinions expressed in the report do not represent the opinion of ZuluTrade Social Trading Platform and do not constitute an offer or invitation to anyone to invest or trade. Every metric and the statistical number is a result of a past performance, which does not constitute a promise or a certainty for a future one.

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