No Longer the Cornerstone
Cash is the new risk-free asset
Using the word “risk-free” to describe an asset which has fallen by some 20% during the course of the last two years, would offend most ordinary users of the English language. But finance professionals are still happy to do this when talking about long-dated government bonds. 10-year US Treasuries have failed to hedge the decline in US equities and the same is true in the Eurozone. Worse still, tactical allocation models based on this relationship have under-performed their benchmarks, removing the possibility of generating any alpha from market timing. All these problems go away as soon as we use cash instead of government bonds. It has higher absolute returns than bonds in the US and the Eurozone and the new models outperform their benchmarks with lower drawdowns and better risk-adjusted returns. It’s time for a rethink.