Running my own bond fund, comparing to VAB - Page 13
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Thread: Running my own bond fund, comparing to VAB

  1. #121
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    James,

    I hope this isn't considered another diversion of the topic of this thread.

    I was wondering what software (or otherwise methods) you use to keep track of your custom bond "ETF" and more importantly how do you compare it to VAB?
    I am running my own REIT basket and wanted to use ZRE as a benchmark so I thought you might share some of your experience in this regard. In particular how do you compare beta, volatility, etc.

    Cheers,
    JC


  2. #122
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    Hi John, the iTrade performance calculator gives me the monthly % change. I then just use a spreadsheet where I list my monthly % gains vs the Vanguard monthly % gains, which you can find in the first posts of my thread.

    The most recent graphs I posted are just the cumulative gains by calculating, in a spreadsheet, the total return of the cumulative months together

  3. #123
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    Thanks James,

    That makes sense for comparing the total returns, which is probably the most important metric.

    I was curious about other technicals like beta, correlation coefficient to markets and other funds and such. I guess you could use http://portfoliovisualizer.com for this to some extend. It seems to lack some historical data in certain cases but going forward should be fine.

    Let me know if anything else comes to mind.

    Cheers,
    JC

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  5. #124
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    I haven't run those kinds of analyses. I'm starting by seeing if I can track VAB over a reasonably long period. If I am tracking it, then that means I have the same stats as VAB

    By the way, Scotia iTrade's Performance calculators look a lot nicer to me than TD's. I would love it if TD enhanced their tracking, being able to give numbers like monthly or quarterly returns (iTrade can do all this)

    The primary reason I'm doing all this is, due to international tax issues, I can't hold VAB. Same story with XIU.

    If I could, I would hold both XIU and VAB as my primary investments. Currently I think I've found alternatives to both that are actually a bit better.

  6. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by james4beach View Post
    The primary reason I'm doing all this is, due to international tax issues, I can't hold VAB. Same story with XIU.
    That's interesting. Now I am curious what those tax issues are? I've seen from previous posts of yours that you live in the US but how does that complicate the matter of holding Canadian listed ETFs? I know a lot of people hold US listed ETFs.

  7. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.cray View Post
    That's interesting. Now I am curious what those tax issues are? I've seen from previous posts of yours that you live in the US but how does that complicate the matter of holding Canadian listed ETFs? I know a lot of people hold US listed ETFs.
    I have become a "US Person" to use their term. US Persons should not hold foreign mutual funds or ETFs because these are called PFICs by the IRS and have burdensome reporting requirements. Plus, they confuse the IRS and are more likely to lead to lengthy and expensive follow-ups about your tax return. The only way to avoid this is to put the ETF inside your RRSP, which I do as much as I can.

    Canadian bonds: I'd normally hold VAB or ZDB, but instead I hold a portfolio of individual bonds. Which isn't so bad as long as I can match VAB's performance. I like that I can control my credit quality and optimize it for taxes. My portfolio is probably more like ZDB than VAB, due to my focus on low coupon bonds.

    Canadian stocks: I'd normally hold XIU (and I do hold some in the RRSP). But instead, I am replicating XIU by using its largest constituents as described in this thread. Theoretically, according to my back tests, this is a reasonably good way to do it. Others around here like Argonaut follow similar 5-pack and 6-pack approaches, so at least I'm in good company.

  8. #127
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    Monthly performance update for my attempt to replicate VAB with individual bond holdings (as total return). My portfolio continues to track VAB very nicely. However, my average maturity at about 7 years is still less than VAB at 10 years. If the bond market strengthens now, I will likely underperform.

    vab-update.png

  9. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by james4beach View Post
    ... Canadian stocks: I'd normally hold XIU (and I do hold some in the RRSP). But instead, I am replicating XIU by using its largest constituents as described in this thread.

    Theoretically, according to my back tests, this is a reasonably good way to do it. Others around here like Argonaut follow similar 5-pack and 6-pack approaches, so at least I'm in good company.
    If you care to dig up old copies of Canadian Money Saver in your library, there's been "10 stocks to beat the TSX" articles tracking progress going back to the '80's. There's lots more company for this approach, AFAICT.


    Cheers


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