When Should You Go Risk Off

   

“When are you going risk-off?” Investors in any sort of tactical allocation strategy want to know: What type of event, what type of environment, what sort of information will affect the risk-on or risk-off decision? Could an election result do it? How about an unemployment or GDP number? The Fed’s upcoming interest rate decision, maybe? A setback or advance in the fight against a global pandemic?

It’s natural to focus on risk right now. Anyone who’s been following the news can provide a long list of “what-ifs” that could potentially bring about a market downturn. On top of that, managing risk becomes all the more challenging in an
environment dominated by low interest rates and expensive stock valuations.

The truth is: We believe investors should seek reliable tools that help manage broad market risk. While it’s natural to be curious about what lies ahead, it’s important to deploy systematic strategies that attempt to align portfolios with investor risk tolerances. It can be tempting to try to time the market yourself but doing so may increase the risk of biased decisions that can impair long-run returns. For many investors and advisors, it may be preferable to outsource tactical decisions to dedicated managers. Outsourcing saves time spent trying to monitor market indicators – freeing up investors to make other important portfolio decisions. And outsourcing leaves the implementation to dedicated professionals who have firm conviction in the process.

It’s critical that every investor decide on a risk management strategy that is suitable to their goals and risk tolerance, then make a strong commitment to that strategy. Investors who trust in their processes can afford to be less reactive to potentially misleading headlines.

Morningstar High Yield Category, its 200-day Moving Average Signal and Selected News Headlines

Morningstar High Yield Category, its 200-day Moving Average Signal and Selected News Headlines
Source: Morningstar.

The chart above shows returns to the high yield asset class along with market headlines that could easily prompt an investor to reevaluate a position. It also shows a 200-day moving average for high yield. Despite all the headlines, a 200-day moving average strategy would have produced no risk-on or risk-off signals during the period. The point here is that a pre-established strategy can help an investor navigate through challenging times without having to cope with each turn of the markets.

We believe it’s human nature to want the comfort of certainty. News headlines, economic figures, central bank decisions: they all beg for us to respond, triggering our emotions, urging us to take action. The trouble is, if investors make these types of in-the-moment decisions, they may fall into a couple big traps:

• It’s difficult to measure and repeat a process driven by subjective judgment.
Subjective judgment often leads to biased decisions and mistakes, leaving investors worse off.

It’s our view that investors should have clear risk management strategies in place that are systematic and have robust track records. Buy and hold, rebalancing, tactical asset allocation, alternatives — all can play a part in a solid approach to financial market risk. One thing is key: We believe the focus should be on staying with the long-term plan, not imagining what event may trigger a sudden shift in asset prices. One way to stay focused on the long term may be to include diversifier strategies like tactical trend following in high yield due to its reliance on objective, quantitative signals.

Current market conditions (especially low interest rates and high equity market valuations) have driven investors to make uncomfortable risk/return decisions, potentially allocating to strategies with more downside than they’d prefer. Systematic trend following strategies have a historical track record for managing downside volatility and may provide investors with an attractive tool for managing risk in this challenging environment.

Important Risk Information

Investments cannot be made in an index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses. The Adviser’s reliance on its strategy and judgments about the attractiveness, value and potential appreciation of particular securities and the tactical allocation among investments may prove to be incorrect and may not produce the desired results. No level of diversification can ensure profits or guarantee against loss.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the funds managed by Counterpoint Mutual Funds. This and other important information about the funds are available in their prospectuses, which can be obtained at counterpointfunds.com or by calling 844-273-8637. The prospectuses should be read carefully before investing. The Counterpoint Mutual Funds fund family is distributed by Northern Lights Distributors, LLC member FINRA/SIPC. Counterpoint Mutual Funds, LLC is not affiliated with Northern Lights Distributors, LLC member FINRA/SIPC.

3089-NLD-1/21/2021

Recent Perspectives

What Tactical High Yield Can Do for a Portfolio

Tactical high yield strategies historically have been shown to improve long-run portfolio returns and risk. When used alongside traditional 60-40 stock-and-bond allocations, tactical high yield has a historical...

READ MORE

Managing Risk in a Post-YOLO Market

In 2020, innovation-focused visionaries and YOLO option traders on Reddit message boards were an unmistakable force in the U.S. stock market. Unprofitable tech companies and meme stocks (“stonks”)...

READ MORE
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Mutual Funds involve risk including the possible loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the funds managed by Counterpoint Funds. This and other important information about the funds is available in their prospectuses, which can be obtained at counterpointfunds.com or by calling 844-273-8637. The prospectuses should be read carefully before investing. The Counterpoint Funds fund family is distributed by Northern Lights Distributors, LLC member FINRA/SIPC. To reach the Counterpoint sales team, please refer to our contact page. 5516-NLD-09/01/2021    

Thank you!

We’ve received your request for the featured event collateral. A Counterpoint Funds team member will be in touch shortly.

Subscribe to stay up to date on and receive our monthly perspective.

Thank you!

We’ve received your meeting request and a Counterpoint Funds team member will be in touch shortly.

Subscribe to stay up to date on and receive our monthly perspective.

Thank you!

We’ve received your event registration request and will be in touch shortly.

Subscribe to stay up to date on Counterpoint Funds and receive our monthly perspective.

Thank you!

We have received your application and look forward to reviewing your qualifications for the role. If your application seems like a good fit, we will contact you to discuss next steps.

Thank you again for your application and interest in joining the Counterpoint team!

Thank you!

We’ve received your message. A Counterpoint Funds team member will contact you soon.

Subscribe to stay up to date and receive our monthly perspective.