Examining the Performance of Stone Ridge’s High-Yield Reinsurance Fund

Larry SwedroeThe Stone Ridge High Yield Reinsurance Fund (SHRIX) was introduced a decade ago to provide pure exposure to catastrophe-reinsurance risk that had historically delivered excess returns. Let’s look at how it performed over that period.

Traditionally, portfolios have been dominated by public equities and bonds. The risks associated with the equity portion of those portfolios are typically dominated by exposure to market beta. And because equities are riskier than bonds, beta’s share of the risk in a traditional 60% equity/40% bond portfolio is much greater than 60%. In fact, it can be 85% or more (the shorter the bond duration, the greater the risk share of market beta).

To provide a vehicle that provided further diversification benefits, in February 2013 Stone Ridge launched SHRIX, one of the first 1940 Act funds to invest primarily in catastrophe bonds, a liquid way to access the reinsurance-risk premium. Reinsurers are paid a premium in exchange for providing the valuable service of protecting insurers against rare but catastrophic events that might create enough claims to bankrupt them. The fund’s target allocation is 85%-90% to liquid catastrophe bonds and 10%-15% to illiquid quota shares (risk-sharing contracts with reinsurers). The fund has an expense ratio of 1.74%.