What is Risk Parity?

Risk Parity is the latest addition to our PassivePlus® suite of rules-based investment features. Risk Parity aims to increase your risk-adjusted returns in a wide range of market environments through an enhanced asset allocation strategy. It uses essentially the same underlying asset classes and index funds as our basic portfolio, but allocates them in a different way. Academic research asserts that portfolios constructed using the Risk Parity methodology -- which equalizes the risk contributions of asset classes within a portfolio -- can achieve higher absolute and risk-adjusted returns, relative to portfolios constructed using traditional methods, over a wide range of economic environments.1 Like all of Wealthfront’s PassivePlus features, Risk Parity relies on a set of rules rather than judgment, which makes it ideal to implement in software.

Wealthfront offers its own version of Risk Parity for taxable investment accounts with $100,000 or more. Learn more about how this strategy works.

If you are interested in learning more details about our PassivePlus investment strategies, you can read more here.

The academic research showing that low risk assets tend to have higher risk-adjusted returns dates back to Black, Jensen, and Scholes (1972). This empirical feature has now been documented across asset classes and linked to leverage constraints by Frazzini and Pedersen (2014). Recent practitioner accounts studying risk parity strategies include: Maillard, S., et. al. (2010), “The Properties of Equal- Weighted Risk Contribution Portfolios” (accessed from:, Chaves, et al. (2012), “Efficient Algorithms for Computing Risk Parity Portfolio Weights.”

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The Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund (the “Fund”) is managed by Wealthfront Strategies LLC (formerly known as WFAS LLC), a registered investment adviser and a wholly owned subsidiary of Wealthfront Inc. Wealthfront Strategies LLC receives an annual management fee equal to 0.25% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. Northern Lights Distributors, LLC, a member of FINRA and SIPC, serves as the principal distributor for the Fund. Wealthfront Inc., is not affiliated with Northern Lights Distributors, LLC.

Before investing in the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund, you should carefully consider the Fund's investment objectives, risks, fees and expenses. This and other information can be found in the Fund’s prospectus. Please read the fund prospectus or summary prospectus carefully before investing. There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses.

In order to add the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund, we must rebalance your portfolio. As part of this process, if we sell positions at a gain, and you do not have sufficient harvested losses to offset those gains, you’ll pay taxes on the net gain.

Investments in the Wealthfront Risk Parity Fund (the “Fund”) involve risk including possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee that any investment will achieve its objectives, generate positive returns, or avoid losses. The Adviser's assessment regarding the risk and correlation of the various asset classes and the Fund's exposure to leverage through the use of derivatives may prove to be incorrect and may not produce the desired results. Financial leverage will magnify, sometimes significantly, the Fund’s exposure to any increase or decrease in prices associated with a particular reference asset resulting in increased volatility in the value of the Fund’s portfolio. While such financial leverage has the potential to produce greater gains, it also may result in greater losses, which in some cases may cause the Fund to liquidate other portfolio investments at a loss to comply with limits on leverage and asset segregation requirements imposed by regulations or to meet redemption requests. The net asset value of the Fund while employing leverage will be more volatile and sensitive to market movements. The Fund’s investments in total return swap agreements also involves the risk that the party with whom the Fund has entered into the total return swap agreements will default on its obligation to pay the Fund. The Fund’s use of derivatives may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains than if the Fund had not used such instruments. Overall equity market risk, including volatility, may affect the value of individual instruments in which the Fund invests. In addition, the Adviser relies heavily on models and information and data supplied by third parties (“Models and Data”). Models and Data are used to construct sets of transactions and investments and to provide risk management insights. The Fund may be exposed to additional risks when Models and Data prove to be incorrect or incomplete. The Adviser is also newly established and has not previously managed a mutual fund. The Fund is a new fund and as such has limited performance history. The Fund is not suitable for all investors. The Fund should be utilized only by investors who (a) understand the risks associated with the use of derivatives, (b) are willing to assume a high degree of risk, and (c) intend to actively monitor and manage their investments in the Fund. Investors who do not meet these criteria should not buy the Fund. An investment in the fund is not a complete investment program.