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In 2008, when the stock market crash began, the NAOI was teaching our students to create portfolios using industry standard Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) methods. We watched in dismay as the value of these portfolio crashed along with the market. At that point I, Leland Hevner, as President of the NAOI stopped all of our education activities.

After over a decade of teaching MPT portfolio design methods, I had to realize that this approach (introduced to the market in the 1950’s) simply could not cope with modern markets. MPT methods produced “static” portfolios in “dynamic” markets and they neither enabled investors to take full advantage of market price uptrends nor to protect them from price downtrends.

With this realization I refocused NAOI resources from Education to Research and Development in order to find and develop a new approach to portfolio design and investing in general that could take maximum advantage of today’s dynamic markets. I clearly saw that the NAOI’s mission of investor empowerment required more than education and the use of online resources; it also required investment innovation.

The Goals for a New Approach to Investing

As we started our research effort I was determined to find a new approach to investing designed to meet the needs of the investing public. So our first task was to interview average people with money to invest. Fortunately the NAOI has access to hundreds of individual investors who are either NAOI students or NAOI members. They represented the comprehensive cross-section of the investing public needed to define our development goals. We asked them what they wanted and needed to become confident investors and willing to enter the equity markets without fear. In summary, they told us that the following features of a new approach were essential:

  • A greatly simplified approach to investing - one that could be explained in less than 10 minutes

  • Higher returns with less risk than the MPT portfolios they are given today

  • Absolute protection from market crashes

  • Less reliance on third parties to make portfolio design and trade decisions

  • A simple and viable “Do It Yourself” investing option using an online broker

We immediately saw that MPT met none of these goals. So we started our research with a blank slate; as if MPT had never existed.

The Use of Data Analysis and Scientific Methods

From the start it was obvious that the only way to meet these goals was to develop an investing approach in which trade decisions are made based on observations analysis of historical market data instead of being based on subjective human judgments which are the source of so much that is wrong investing today. To meet the goals set for us by the investing public, we needed an approach based on scientific methods.

Our first task was to find patterns in historical data that had proven predictive value for future equity price movements. Based on significant research we found the data set that we needed in the form of equity price trends. Historical data analysis showed to us that the prices of asset classes and markets / market segments are cyclical and that the prices of different asset types and different market segments move up and down at different times as illustrated below.

 
the cyclical nature of asset pricing

the cyclical nature of asset pricing

 

Based on this observation and in keeping with scientific methods we developed the following Premise:

At all times and in any economic conditions there exist areas of the market that are trending up in price. It is possible to create an investment type that is capable of automatically detecting these areas and capturing their positive returns potential while avoiding areas of the market that are trending down in price.

A premise is an assumption that something is true and is the first step toward developing a theory, as discussed next.

The Creation of a Theory

Continuing with our scientific methodology, the next task was to design investment prototype designs to test our Premise. For this purpose we created and tested dozens of prototype designs. We found one design that showed our premise to have a high probability of being true. We called this successful prototype NAOI Dynamic Investments (DIs). They are discussed at this link.

Based on positive testing results, we transformed our Premise to a Theory. We called this theory Dynamic Investment Theory (DIT). It sets the logic and defines the rules for creating Dynamic Investments that meet every goal set for us by the public and more. With the discovery and development of DIT and DIs, the world of investing changed at a fundamental level; and for the better.

A Game-Changing Discovery

The NAOI understands that the observation that equity prices are cyclical and that uncorrelated assets move up and down at different times is not a new discovery. Market cycles and momentum investing have been studied and used for years.

The significant breakthrough that the NAOI has made is that Dynamic Investments (DIs) enable the investing public to easily take advantage of the predictive information available in market cycles. This is not insignificant. DIT and DIs bring high-return, low-risk investing methods, that are found today almost exclusively in the realm of hedge funds, directly to the average investor in a simple, easy to understand and user-friendly manner.

Benefits for Investors and the Financial Industry

NAOI students who have been field-testing Dynamic Investments for over two years tell us that this are the investment type needed to enable millions of people, who are currently not willing to expose their savings to market risk, to confidently enter the market without fear.

Financial organizations who recognize the power of DIs and include them in their offerings will capture this influx of new investors and gain a massive competitive advantage in a crowded field. NAOI consulting as discussed here, will show them how.

Continue learning about how investing is changing at this link.