Build your portfolio like a pro This is a follow-up to Schalk Louw’s article published in the 4 December 2014 edition. How did the 10 shares he picked do over the past 18 months?
ialways try to provide my clients with as many tools and aids as possible whenever I release a report in order to help them to make the best possible decisions regarding their investment portfolios. This also encourages me to go back in time every now and then, to evaluate which models and tools were more successful than others.
Roughly 18 months ago (4 December 2014 issue), I showed finweek readers how to compile a personal share portfolio like a pro. I pointed out 10 shares with specific weights, believed to the favourites of fund managers at that time. They were Anglo American, British American Tobacco, Bidvest, FirstRand, Mr Price, MTN, Naspers*, Reinet, Sasol and Steinhoff. Since then, we saw that out of these 10 shares, some remained superstars, while others, like Anglo and MTN, lost more than 30% in value over this period.
The FTSE/JSE All Share Index rose by 11.05% (total returns) over this period, while the SA General Equity sector rose by 6.98%. My recommended portfolio rose by 16.07% over the same period, but how did I compile this portfolio and how is it performing in our current market conditions?
Step 1: Identify the equity funds that performed the best according to your needs
This is an interesting point of departure. Many investors may think that I mean they should look for the equity funds (unit trusts) that have performed the best over the last 12 months. The problem with this is that although a particular fund may have performed the best over this period, its performance over a longer period, say three to five years, may not have been so good. My personal preference lies with funds with the highest possible risk-adjusted returns (returns divided by annual volatility).
After applying this method to all of the SA General Equity Funds, I was left with 10 funds that, firstly, performed better than the FTSE/ JSE All Share Index over the last five years, and secondly, showed lower volatility over the same period. It was very interesting to see that 60% of the funds that made the list of successful funds 18 months ago based on the above criteria held firm on the new list.
Step 2: Calculate the average shareholding of the funds’ top 10 shareholding
After identifying the top 10 funds in Step 1, I had a look at their top 10 shareholding, simply because I know that fund managers put a lot of time and effort into analysing these funds before allocating their funds’ 10 heaviest weights to these shares, which finally makes up nearly 50% of these funds’ total weights. Out of these top 10 funds, I then found my top 10 average shareholding – my 10 best of the best shares.
Step 3: Divide the Top 10 shares according to weight
largest part of its shareholding in Naspers, for example, it has to be a safe enough bet to place all your capital into this one share. This may cause massive problems, however, should you (and the fund manager) be wrong. My suggestion is to keep your emotions in check and rather distribute your capital as close to the average weight allocations determined in Step 2. This means that if Naspers carried the largest weight across the top 10 funds, it should preferably also carry the largest weight in your portfolio (but not all of it).
After allocating my shares according to this method, my portfolio will look like this (according to sector): This means that shares such as Anglo, Bidvest (which came close to making the list), Mr Price, MTN and Reinet have fallen off the list compiled 18 months ago, while Aspen, Old Mutual, Remgro, SABMiller and Standard Bank have taken their places.
In conclusion, equity investments remain a highly technical area and although this may be a good investment tool when compiling and testing the success of your personal share portfolio, I recommend that you always consult an expert before making big investment decisions.