Asset allocation is the most important decision one can make as an investor. Each quarter, Atlas Capital Advisors updates estimates of the expected returns of each asset class, and adjusts allocations accordingly. We make these decisions in a systematic repeatable way using approaches grounded in academic evidence.

Foundations of Atlas Risk Asset Allocation

We are fundamental investors. We seek to increase weights in asset classes that are attractively priced, and reduce weights in those that are not. Attractively priced asset categories, with higher expected returns, have “good value” in our terminology.

The evidence for making investment decisions in alignment with value is robust. On average, based on data since 1980, the annual return of single country stock markets with the top third most attractive valuations outperform the bottom third by 5% per year.

We also use price trends as a catalyst for determining when to enter positions. Through long experience in the markets, we have repeatedly seen asset classes that appear to have strong value characteristics continue to get cheaper. Many of the emerging equity markets have had this characteristic in the last five years. We have learned that it is better in the long run to wait for cheap asset classes to start rising in price before committing to an overweight. Similarly, it’s better to wait for expensive asset classes to start falling in price before moving to an underweight.

The evidence to consider trend is also strong. For instance, in stock market history, the future return tends to be better if the past return is positive than if it is negative. On average, if the past 6 – 12 month stock market return is positive, the next quarter return is 1.5% to 2.0% higher than if the prior 6 – 12 month return is negative.

3Q2017 update

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