Using An ETF Portfolio To Mimic An Endowment Portfolio

July 19, 2012


While you may not want to have the same disappointing returns as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPers, you may nonetheless wish to have a similar endowment-style allocation in your ETF portfolio, according to an article on The Street.

California’s huge public-employee pension plan posted returns of 1 percent in its fiscal year ended June 30, which were below the fund’s benchmark returns of 1.7 percent, the report said.

Still, the article pointed to the following funds as prime examples of ETFs that could be deployed to recreate CalPers’ ability to cover nine asset classes in a portfolio:

  • iShares MSCI World Index Fund (NYSEArca: ACWI)
  • PowerShares Global Listed Private Equity Portfolio (NYSEArca: PSP)
  • UBS’ ETRACS Wells Fargo Business Development ETN (NYSEArca: BDCS)
  • iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond (NYSEArca: AGG)
  • iShares Cohen & Steers Reality Majors (NYSEArca: ICF)
  • Guggenheim Timber ETF (NYSEArca: CUT)
  • PowerShares Emerging Market Infrastructure Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXR)
  • SPDR FTSE/Macquarie Global Infrastructure 100 ETF (NYSEArca: GII)
  • iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Infrastructure Index Fund (NYSEArca: EMIF)
  • CurrencyShares Australian Dollar Trust (NYSEArca: FXA)
  • PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (NYSEArca: DBC)
  • iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (NYSEArca: TIP)
  • PowerShares DB G10 Currency Harvest Portfolio (NYSEArca: DBV)
  • WisdomTree Managed Futures Fund (NYSEArca: WDTI)


The funds are rough approximations of what CalPers might achieve, as it still remains difficult to create perfect copy. In other words, these categories aren’t totally accessible through ETFs, according to the article.

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