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Industry Voice: Vanguard — a strong decade ahead for 60/40 portfolios

Last year may have been tough for 60/40 portfolios but the forward outlook has improved notably, says Todd Schlanger

clock • 5 min read
Industry Voice: Vanguard — a strong decade ahead for 60/40 portfolios

The 60% stock/40% bond portfolio declined 9% in 2022 - a painful period for multi-asset investors that has raised doubts about the viability of the strategy. But it helps to put this in perspective: The annualised return for the 10 years to the end of 2022 was 6.9% for a globally diversified 60/40 portfolio1

If you look at the nine years prior to 2022, a globally diversified portfolio posted a lofty 8.9% annualised return, despite the low interest rate environment. That put 60/40 returns on track to be within the top 12% (88th percentile) of projected outcomes when we run our 10-year annualised return forecasts as of 2012. Even after taking 2022 into account, the 10-year return fell within the top third (69th percentile) of projected outcomes2

The silver lining to market falls

While 2022 may have been painful for investors, the result was that valuations for asset classes are now lower, and most are attractive. The notable exception are US stocks, which are more reasonably priced now but still above what we consider to be the fair-value range.

With these more favourable valuations, Vanguard's modelling shows that the long-term return outlook for the 60/40 portfolio has notably improved.

The chart below shows the range of expected annualised returns over the next 10 years for a global 60/40 portfolio as of year-end 2022 relative to 2021. Expected returns have improved, with less downside risk.

Expected 10-year annualised returns        

Source: Vanguard calculations in GBP, as at 31 December 2021 and 31 December 2022. Notes: The forecast corresponds to the distribution of 10,000 Vanguard Capital Markets Model (VCMM) simulations for 10-year annualised nominal returns in GBP for the 60% equity/40% bond portfolio. Median volatility is the 50th percentile of the distribution of annualised standard deviation of returns. Portfolio returns do not take into account management fees and expenses, nor do they reflect the effect of taxes. Returns do reflect the reinvestment of income and capital gains. Indices are unmanaged; therefore, direct investment is not possible. Equity comprises UK equity (MSCI UK Total Return Index) and global equity (MSCI AC World ex UK Total Return Index). Fixed income comprises UK bonds (Bloomberg Sterling Aggregate Bond Index) and hedged, global bonds (Bloomberg Global Aggregate ex Sterling Bond Index Sterling Hedged). UK equity home bias: 25%, UK fixed income home bias: 35%.
Any projections should be regarded as hypothetical in nature and do not reflect or guarantee future results.
IMPORTANT: The projections and other information generated by the VCMM regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Distribution of return outcomes from VCMM are derived from 10,000 simulations for each modelled asset class. Simulations are as at 31 December 2021 and 31 December 2022. Results from the model may vary with each use and over time.

Our models suggest sterling 60/40 investors can reasonably expect anywhere between 4.3% and 7.9% each year over the next decade. That's up from our 2021 year-end expectations of between 1.8% to 5.3%. 

There is a lot of noise in the short term, including the swathe of one-year market projections that often hog the headlines, but we tend to focus on the medium to long term with our forecasts - and with good reason.

While equities tend to gain much of the attention, more of the improvement in our projections stem from fixed income, with expected returns more than twice as high than they were going into 2022. Far from being dead, we think the 60/40 portfolio is poised for another strong decade.

 

This post is funded by Vanguard

1 Vanguard calculations in GBP, based on data from Refinitiv. Calendar-year 2022 returns from 31 December 2021 to 31 December 2022 were -9.0% for the 60% equity/40% bond portfolio. Equity comprises UK equity (MSCI UK Total Return Index) and global ex-UK equity (MSCI AC World ex UK Total Return Index). Fixed income comprises UK bonds (Bloomberg Sterling Aggregate Bond Index) and hedged, global ex-UK bonds (Bloomberg Global Aggregate ex Sterling Bond Index Sterling Hedged). UK equity home bias: 25%, UK fixed income home bias: 35%. 10-year annulised returns of 6.9% based on data between 31 December 2012 and 31 December 2022.

2 Based on the range of projected 10-year outcomes as calculated on 31 December 2012, by our Vanguard Capital Markets Model (VCMM). Nine-year anualised returns of 8.9% based on data between 31 December 2012 and 31 December 2021.

 


Investment risk information

The value of investments, and the income from them, may fall or rise and investors may get back less than they invested.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Any projections should be regarded as hypothetical in nature and do not reflect or guarantee future results.

Important information

For professional investors only (as defined under the MiFID II Directive) investing for their own account (including management companies (fund of funds) and professional clients investing on behalf of their discretionary clients). In Switzerland for professional investors only. Not to be distributed to the public.

The information contained in this document is not to be regarded as an offer to buy or sell or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell securities in any jurisdiction where such an offer or solicitation is against the law, or to anyone to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation, or if the person making the offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so. The information in this document does not constitute legal, tax, or investment advice. You must not, therefore, rely on the content of this document when making any investment decisions.

The information contained in this document is for educational purposes only and is not a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell investments.

Issued in EEA by Vanguard Group (Ireland) Limited which is regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland.
Issued in Switzerland by Vanguard Investments Switzerland GmbH.

Issued by Vanguard Asset Management, Limited which is authourised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority.

© 2023 Vanguard Group (Ireland) Limited. All rights reserved.
© 2023 Vanguard Investments Switzerland GmbH. All rights reserved.
© 2023 Vanguard Asset Management, Limited. All rights reserved

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