The 60/40 is not dead, will never die, and you can’t kill it. That won’t stop the financial media and investment firms from staging mock funerals.
As two recent commentaries demonstrate, in their zeal to promote their agendas, asset managers are claiming that the humble 60/40 portfolio is doomed to the dustbin. But their analysis is flawed. The 60/40 will outlive us all.
There is simply no proof that outcomes have improved, or that risks have diminished from the proliferation of new ETF products. Instead, this has been little more than marketing to appeal to over-saturated advisors who desperately seek the next “story.”
Advisors routinely assume the benefits from diversifying across equity asset sub-classes and between equities and bonds. But they ignore the even greater benefit from diversifying among categories of bonds.
Dramatic growth offers significant opportunity for the index fund industry, but not without its risks. As assets move from active to passive management, what systemic danger lurks? What market disruptions might occur with a concentration of assets backed by monolithic indexes on autopilot?
Thirty-one years ago, in 1981, the one-year Treasury reached its all time high of 14%. Today it hovers around 0.10%. Never before have interest rates fallen so far. Many economists and investment advisors, seeing nowhere to go but up, expect interest rates to climb from these historic lows. But that would not be the catastrophe that many bond investors fear.