We completed a BIG site upgrade over the weekend.
90% of the changes are behind the scenes. We refactored our code top to bottom. This site has come a long ways from its humble beginnings and it needed some spring cleaning. This will also help with scalability, to make sure we stay a few steps ahead as our member roster continues to grow.
There were some pretty nifty changes to the front end as well, which we’ve summarized below:
Alternate Trading Day Allocation:
Most of the TAA strategies that we track are designed to only trade once per month (at month-end). A unique feature of our platform is the ability to follow those strategies on any other day of the month as well, or to spread allocation across multiple days (i.e. “portfolio tranching”).
Previously, there was no way to see the current asset allocation of all of those alternate trading days without going through the cumbersome process of adding the strategy + day to a model portfolio.
We’ve changed that. Now on the backtest of every monthly trading strategy you’ll find a new report showing the current allocation for every trading day over the last month. You can see how the strategy’s signal has evolved as the market moved, and you can get a better feel for how sensitive the strategy is to market changes (the primary driver of “timing luck”).
How to find this new feature: From the backtest on every monthly trading strategy, click the link titled “Alt. Trading Days: Current Allocation”.
We’ve always provided backtests of individual strategies, and we’ve always provided a screener to help analyze/sort our entire lineup of strategies, but we were lacking a way to directly compare two or more strategies side-by-side (including equity curve, stats, etc.). This was a pretty obvious miss from our platform, so we’ve closed the hole.
With this new feature the member selects up to 5 strategies and/or model portfolios. We take those selections, align them to their earliest common date, and then run a side-by-side backtest.
How to find this new feature: We’ve added a new column to the “All Strategies” list (look for the symbol). Select your strategies and click “Compare Now”. Alternatively, use the “Compare Strategies” page under the Strategies menu. Use the latter approach to include your custom model portfolio(s) in your comparison.
Custom Model Portfolios as “Shopping Carts”:
A core feature of our site is the ability to combine multiple TAA strategies together into what we call “custom model portfolios”.
Your custom model portfolios work more like a shopping cart now. You can add strategies to them and then click away to continue your research. No longer do you have to go through the laborious process of adding a strategy, allocating to it, and then testing/committing each time.
You still have to commit your model portfolio to make it “official” so that we can enable things like real-time asset allocation and email notifications, but we hope that this shopping cart approach will help you to stay focused on what matters: finding good strategies and building good portfolios.
How to find this new feature: After adding a strategy to your Model Portfolio, you can simply click away and we’ll save it like a shopping cart until you choose to do something with it. Alternatively, after adding a strategy you can click “Save for Later” to save any other wip changes (trading days, allocations, etc.)
Improved Aggregate Allocation Report:
The Aggregate Allocation report shows the aggregate asset allocation across all of the strategies that we track. We’ve reworked the report to include more history and to do a better job showing how the current aggregate allocation compares to historical norms.
For example, the aggregate allocation to gold currently stands at 9.0%. Is that significant? Yes it is. It’s TAA’s highest allocation to gold over the previous year.
How to find this new feature: Click “Aggregate Asset Allocation” under the Strategies menu.
Some members prefer to select strategies that trade similar assets, either to limit portfolio turnover or because they have limited choices in whatever investment vehicle they employ.
We’ve been inconsistent in the past in how we show the assets that could potentially be traded by each strategy. The Strategy-Asset Matrix is our fix to that. It shows every strategy and every asset in that strategy’s universe in one convenient table.
How to find this new feature: Click “Strategy-Asset Matrix” under the Strategies menu.
There were a number of other smaller changes that you may or may not notice. A few examples:
- Our platform can be a bit overwhelming for first time users, so we added a site walk-through for free members. If you’re new here, we invite you to take our free membership for a spin.
- We now notify you on the Members Home page if we encounter issues delivering portfolio email notifications to ensure you’re not missing out on important updates (paid users only).
- A list of the latest blog posts is now included on the Members Home page so that you don’t have to look in multiple places to stay up to date with the latest happenings (paid users with at least one model portfolio only).
What We Didn’t Include in this Upgrade:
We prioritize site upgrades based on member feedback. There were two asks that we hear often but did not implement.
The first is a better equity curve zoom. Currently, when zooming in on an equity curve, it doesn’t rebase to $10,000, making comparing across narrow timeframes (like 2008-09) difficult. We spent a lot of man-hours on this, and the conclusion is that our current charting software just doesn’t do it well with logarithmic charts. Moving away from our current charting software is a non-trivial decision as it’s used extensively throughout the site. We have punted this one to a future site upgrade.
The second is a members-only discussion forum. We built it. It looks awesome. We hear a lot of requests for it, but we’re not quite ready to deploy it. Forums come with a lot of day-to-day management that from a business perspective, we’re not ready to pull the trigger on. Look for this one in the coming year.
Please Report Any Issues:
We’ve tested the heck out of this upgrade, but as we mentioned at the top of this post, there are a ton of changes behind the scenes.
Strategy results (i.e. the numbers, i.e. the most important thing we do) have been audited pre vs post upgrade to ensure that the backtesting engine itself is error-free, but we can’t 100% rule out other bugaboos. If you notice any issues whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We invite you to become a member for about a $1 a day, or take our platform for a test drive with a free limited membership. Put the industry’s best tactical asset allocation strategies to the test, combine them into your own custom portfolio, and then track them in near real-time. Have questions? Learn more about what we do, check out our FAQs or contact us.