Folio Investing, an online brokerage, announced Monday that since launching its suite of target-date funds in 2007, the average return for the 2010, 2020, 2030 and 2040 Moderate target-date folios was 1.13% higher per year than the average return for comparable target-date funds offered by three other mutual fund companies and is up 1.87% per year compared with the universe of target-date funds.
The reason for the funds’ success, according to the company, is relational diversification, a strategy that manages a portfolio’s risk level and the evolving relationships between asset classes.
“The concept is straightforward,” Steve Wallman (left), founder and CEO of Folio Inc., which operates Folio Investing, says of relational diversification. While Folio’s funds are diversified in the traditional sense, the company is “also looking at the relationship between sectors to take advantage of any changes,” he told AdvisorOne.
Among the standard stock and bond allocations, the Target Date Folios also invest in commodities, inflation-tracking bonds (TIPS), real estate assets, and include explicit allocations to infrastructure stocks such as utilities.
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Other large target-date funds follow an outdated design approach that may leave them vulnerable to risk, according to Folio. Most target-date funds can enhance their approach to asset allocation, Wallman said in a statement.
“Our analysis shows that these funds are not as well diversified as they could be beyond stocks and bonds – which are correlated with those stocks – thereby leading to a high exposure to risk from a decline in stocks,” he added.
“During the 2007 to 2008 period, target-date funds experienced a lot of volatility. There was an increase in correlation between stocks and bonds, and the benefits of diversification began evaporating,” Wallman said in a phone interview.