Helping-Advisors Logo


by Russell Investments

Site Navigation

Asset Class Dashboard

Posted: October 11, 2016 using data as of September 30, 2016
Updated: Monthly

Having meaningful conversations with clients about performance is all about context. Use this graph to help you keep your clients' expectations grounded in reality and drive toward good investment decisions.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes some words help. For current commentary on this graphic, which represents relevant index performance over time, see our dedicated section on the Helping Advisors blog.

How do I read this chart?


This dashboard is intended as a tool to set context and perspective when evaluating the current state of a sample of asset classes.

The ranges of 12 month returns for each asset class are calculated from its underlying monthly index returns. The stated inception date is the first full month of an index's history available for the dashboard calculation.

Here is how to read the graphic on this page:


A GRAY BAR shows the full range of historical rolling 12–month returns for a sample of asset classes.

A BLUE COLOR BAND represents the typical range (one standard deviation away from the mean, i.e. 68% of historical observations) of rolling 12-month returns for these asset classes.

AN ORANGE MARKER represents the most recent 12–month return of the asset classes.

A WHITE LINE within the blue bar represents the mean of the historical observations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Asset Class Dashboard?

  • In an effort to help you contextualize recent asset class performance for your clients, the Asset Class Dashboard contrasts the current and historical returns for a sample of asset classes (represented by relevant indexes).

How should I interpret the chart?

  • In simple terms, the chart shows you the relationship of the most recent value to the typical historical range for each asset class.
    • The grey bar shows the full range of historical rolling 12-month returns for each asset class with the lowest recorded value shown on the left side and the highest recorded value on the right.
    • The blue color band represents the typical range of rolling 12-month returns for the asset class.
    • The orange marker represents the most recent 12-month return for the asset class.
    • A dark blue line within the blue bar represents the mean of the historical observations.
  • If the most recent value (orange marker) lies inside the blue band, that indicates more typical behavior for the asset class. If it lies outside, that points to extreme behavior.
  • To learn more about the index used to track performance of each indicator, hover over any asset class label.

How can I use this dashboard to talk to my clients?

  • You can use this with a variety of clients. For example:
    • Clients on the sidelines — direct their attention to the Cash line and point out how narrow the historical range of returns for cash has been — and that it's unlikely to help most investors achieve financial security.
    • Clients with whom you want to recalibrate expectations about returns — point out asset classes for which the recent 12–month returns are outside the historically "typical" return range. Explain how based on the idea that prices and returns eventually move back towards the average in the long–term, it's likely that returns will revert to a more typical level going forward.
    • For all clients — focus on the range of typical returns, not the mean. Draw your client's attention to the fact that the average return (represented by the dark blue vertical line in the blue bar) across all the asset classes in the chart is very similar. However, caution your clients not to use that single point return as a guide for what might be expected in the future. Instead, explain that point-estimates for returns are helpful because of the simplicity of contextualizing a single number.
    • For timely tips, see our current commentary on the dashboard.

Can I use the Asset Class Dashboard as a market timing tool?

  • No. The Asset Class Dashboard is not meant to serve as a direct prediction regarding the future performance of any financial market. It is a backwards looking representation that reports on historical returns and is not intended to predict or guarantee future investment performance of any sort.

How often is it updated?

  • The Dashboard is updated monthly after month end returns are released for each index and will be published on Helping Advisors in the first half of the following month.