Permanent Portfolio is a self-directed long-term passive investment strategy, introduced in 1981 by Harry Browne and Terry Coxon and simplified into 4 asset class in 1987. It aims to provide consistent market returns and protections in different economic cycles of growth, inflation, recession and deflation. The strategy does not rely on market timing, and requires yearly management and minimal monitoring. This site is to provides educational information for learning about my research and implementation of Singapore version of Permanent Portfolio. Readers can also use the Permanent Portfolio knowledge to diversify their stock heavy portfolio into long term government bonds and gold for better portfolio protections in recession, deflation and inflation. Disclaimer: Use of information on this site represents acceptance of the disclaimer at bottom of this page and Disclaimer page.

Monday, 30 July 2012

How do I keep track of Permanent Portfolio performance

How do I keep track of Permanent Portfolio performance?

I use Android app Stock Watcher to watch my Singapore Permanent Portfolio performance. Warning: looking at the portfolio frequently can induce anxiety or happiness according to the day’s market situation! It is advisable to look at the portfolio performance less frequently, preferably once a year, once a quarter or when market seems likely to make major moves that would cause one of your asset to rise or drop by 40% or more, which is when it would likely cause the 15% or 35% rebalance band to be hit. According to my research with available data, after the portfolio is started or rebalanced, it may take minimum one to three months before the portfolio starts to show consistent positive profits, if any. A good thing is that Permanent Portfolio volatility is not so high so any drop in total portfolio value looks more bearable.

ES3.SI is the Yahoo! Finance symbol for STI ETF (ES3) that trades on Singapore Stock Exchange.
PH1S.SI is the Yahoo! Finance symbol for Singapore Government 30-year bond (PH1S) that trades on Singapore Stock Exchange.
XAUSGD=X is the Yahoo! Finance symbol for price of gold in Singapore dollars. Whether I invest in UOB Gold savings account (which counts gold in grams instead of ounce), or whether I bought gold ETF (O87) in US dollars, I would find the equivalent Singapore dollar spot gold price (XAUSGD) at the time of purchase and use it as the buy price of my gold. This way I can use XAUSGD to directly evaluate the performance of gold investment in my local country currency.
A screen shot example of how the Stock Watcher app is setup here. This app shows an example Permanent Portfolio started on 4 April 2012 with the price of ES3, PH1S and XAUSGD on that day and the current performance. For a more complete view of the portfolio performance, I keep track of portfolio results including cash performance manually in a spreadsheet. 
To add 'PH1S.SI' and 'XAUSGD=X' symbols to the 'Portfolio' tab:
Under [Portfolio] tab,
-> press the phone's [menu] button
-> select [Add] button
-> select [Add Symbol] tab
-> key in '' and press [Add Symbol] button. Do the same for 'xausgd=x'.
See picture example below:



  1. hi epps,

    i cant seem to find both the PH1S.SI and XAUSGD=X on the app!
    is there any special way to go about finding them?



    1. Under [Portfolio] tab
      -> press the phone's [menu] button
      -> select [Add] button
      -> select [Add Symbol] tab
      -> key in '' and press [Add Symbol] button.
      I'll update this post with another picture also.

  2. Epps,

    Thanks much for the demostration. it is working great now. and the idea of PP is really drawing me in. thank you for sharing it with us.


  3. enthusiastic beginner11 December 2012 at 22:54

    Hi Epps, sorry I am an amateur here but I am very interested in your PP. May I ask how much does the government bond tax for the 30 year bond which you stated on your blog? Because when I searched the bond in SGX, i get 3 values ,

    Ex.Date: 20 Sep 2013
    Ex.Date: 20 Mar 2013
    Ex.Date: 20 Sep 2012

    So which value should I look at? Thanks alot.

  4. Hi,
    PP strategy is developed by Harry Browne and associates in the 1980s and refined in 1990s to the simpler 25% split across 4 assets. I am just adapting it for local implementation.

    The government does not tax individuals on the bond interests and capital gains from Singaopore government bonds.

    If I understand correctly, "Ex.Date: 20 Sep 2013 2.75%" just means "if you buy this SGS bond before 20 Sep 2013, you will be entitled to get the bond interest on 1 Oct 2013, at the rate of 2.75% per year per 100 dollars". For PH1S 30 years SG govt bond, interest is given out on 1 Oct and 1 April every year till maturity.

    2.75% is the coupon 'interest' rate, means you if you bought 1 unit of bond at $100, you get $2.75 interest which is 2.75% per year. If you buy PH1S at $108 now you still get $2.75 interest per year but your yearly interest or 'yield' becomes 27.5/108=2.54%. Bond price and bond yield have inverse relationship.

    For the purpose of investing in PP, you should look at the price of the 30 years long bond traded on Singapore stock exchange. PP depends on the price changes in 30 years long bond to provide profits or buffers to the portfolio. The long bond is held till left with 20 years till maturity, and then it is sold and new 30 years bonds are bought. As investor do not hold the 30 years bond till maturity, the bond yield or interest is secondary considerations.

  5. Just a minor point to note, the STI ETF you mentioned is not the ticker for the SGX, it's for the straits times index. One is the Singapore exchange, the other is an index of about 0 biggest stocks in Singapore.

    Please keep blogging :)