[Article content from source below quoted by admin LadyGeek.]Institutional investor wrote:Despite the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, the gap between the present value of liabilities and assets at U.S. state pensions is measured in trillions of dollars. To make matters worse, pensions are now faced with the reality that standard diversification — including extremely low-yielding bonds — may no longer serve as an effective hedge for equity risk.
The traditional 60/40 mix of stocks and bonds, commonly portrayed as an optimal portfolio, is supposed to mitigate the effects of this sort of extreme market volatility and deliver returns that pension fund managers can rely on. But the 60/40 mix is an artifact from another time. The optimal mix presumes it is possible to achieve a high rate of return while simultaneously constraining volatility. In practice, it limits portfolio volatility in benign market environments over the short term while making huge sacrifices in long-run performance. The so-called optimal portfolio is, in effect, the worst of all worlds. It offers scant protection against tail risk and, at the same time, achieves an under-allocation to riskier assets with higher returns in long periods of economic expansion, such as the past decade.
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