The Hulbert 2017-2018 Investment Newsletter Honor Roll

The investment newsletters on the Hulbert 2017-18 Investment Newsletter Honor Roll are those that have produced above-average performance in both above and down markets.

Though this Honor Roll is not the only way of slicing and dicing our performance data, I do urge you to give it serious consideration. Newsletters that have been on past years’ Honor Rolls have, on average, proceeded to outperform other services that did not make the grade.

But I would urge you to pay close attention to the Honor Roll even if the newsletters on it didn’t end up outperforming those that do not. That’s because the “slow-and-steady” Honor Roll newsletters are least likely to be ones that you stop following at inopportune times. That’s important, since the key to long-term success is actually following a strategy through thick and thin. It doesn’t do you any good to follow an adviser with a good rating if you dump him when the markets move against you.

The Hulbert 2017-2018 Investment Newsletter Honor Roll



What if you crave more risk and find a “slow-and-steady” approach hopelessly boring? Forgive me for saying so, but I don’t believe you. If you’re like most investors, you will jettison your risky adviser when his strategy becomes out of synch with the market—which inevitably happens, sooner or later. And if you prematurely stop following him, you will not realize the long-term gains his approach hopefully can produce. You will, however, suffer 100% of the losses his risky strategy produced up to the point you couldn’t take it any longer.

What if, despite my skepticism, you have what it takes to stick with a riskier newsletter that has tended to perform below average during some phases of the market’s cycle? Then you would want to focus on the performance scoreboards that appear elsewhere on this website. On those scoreboards you’ll find several additional services whose raw returns are just as good, or better, than those that did make the Honor Roll.

How We Constructed The Honor Roll

The Hulbert Investment Newsletter Honor Roll, though loosely modeled on Forbes’ Mutual Fund Survey, is not endorsed by, or affiliated with, Forbes magazine. The stock market’s history between 3/31/2000 and 9/30/2017 was divided into “up” and “down” periods, and each advisory service was graded separately for its average performance in each of these periods. Included were just those currently monitored that have a heavy US equity focus. In the event a service maintains more than one such portfolio, its “up” and “down” market grades reflect an average.

There were four “down” periods during this 17+ year span: April ‘00 through October ‘02; October ‘07 through March ‘09, May ‘11 through September ’11, and May ’15 through February ‘16. The four “up” periods contained the intervening periods.

For each of these “down” periods, we calculated a service’s performance relative to the stock market as a whole (as measured by the Wilshire 5000 index, dividends included) and then averaged these four relative performances to come up with a single “down” market score. We followed a similar procedure to assign a down market score for each of the actively-managed U.S. equity mutual funds in Morningstar’s database. Each newsletter was then give a percentile rank relative to all the Morningstar-monitored funds, with “100” meaning that the service did better than all funds and “0” meaning that it did worse than all of them. This percentile is what appears in the column “Down Market Grade” in the table above. We utilized a similar approach in grading services’ “up” market performances.

*Risk: This reflects the volatility of a newsletter’s performance, as measured by the standard deviation of its monthly returns. Higher numbers reflect greater volatility and risk.

**Risk-adjusted performance. We use the Sharpe Ratio to calculate risk-adjusted performance. Higher numbers mean that the adviser did better in relation to the amount of risk he/she incurred.