Portfolio Performance: awesome software for investors

Many experienced investors want to be able to monitor their entire portfolio. However, sometimes brokers don’t give enough tools for thorough analysis or maybe your investments are scattered accross different accounts. In that case it can help to have dedicated software to aggregate everything to one platform. Enter: Portfolio Performance.

Portfolio Performance is open source software. That means that you can download it for free and fully use it without needing any premium packages. Unfortunately its website is in German and the available documentation is not very extensive, making the learning curve for this software relatively high. Therefore it’s time for a 5-step introduction.

Step 1: Installation

Go to the website and install Portfolio Performance for Linux, Windows or Mac. When you are done you should see the screen below:

Portfolio Performance welcome screen

Click on Create a new file to start making a new portfolio.

Choose USD as currency and use ‘Portfolio’ and ‘Account1’ as input for the fields for securities account and reference account. Click on Add and afterwards on Finish to create this portfolio.

Adding accounts

If you want to add more accounts to this portfolio you can do so later on. Save the portfolio by going to the top menu and clicking on File and then on Save. Use ‘example.xml’ as a filename.

Step 2: Understanding the interface

This is the main screen for Portfolio Performance:

The main screen

As you can see there are three main parts:

  1. The menu, which consists of:
    Securities: The list of securities and indexes you want to follow
    Accounts: All your accounts and portfolios
    Reports: Reports to track the results of your portfolio
    Taxonomies: Lists and groups for your securites. For instance: countries or sectors
    General data: General settings
  2. The overview of the selected page
  3. Filters and settings to personalize the overview of the selected page

To track your portfolio we need to add a security and a transaction in the following steps.

Step 3: Adding a security

Now that we are familiar with the interface we can add securities to Portfolio Performance. To track securities the software uses historical data from financial sites like Alpha Vantage and Yahoo Finance. That means that you can add any security you want, as long as these sites have information on it.

For our example portfolio we are going to add Apple and Disney to our securities list. Click on All securities and then on the + in the top-right corner of the screen.

There are multiple ways to add securities to your portfolio. In most cases the easy route is to search the right securities by ticker or ISIN code. Therefore, click on Search for instruments….

Adding instruments to your securities

Input ‘AAPL’ (ticker symbol for Apple) into the search bar and click on Search. You should get a list of securites now. Choose ‘APPLE INC.’ and click on Apply.

Searching for instruments using a ticker

In the next screen be careful that the selected currency is USD. Click on the tab Historical Quotes and check if the provider is ‘Yahoo Finance’ and the exchange is ‘AAPL (AAPL).’ Otherwise Portfolio Performance might unwillingly be converting USD to EUR with their own provider. The latest quote should be the same as the price at close for that given day:

Historical quotes for Apple

Click on OK to add Apple to your list of securites.

Repeat these steps for Disney (ticker symbol DIS). Afterwards you should have two securities in your list:

Your securities list in Portfolio Performance

Step 4: Adding a transaction

Now that we follow two securities we need to add transactions to our account. For this we will use a date in the past to build up some history in our portfolio. Both Apple and Shell will be added with the following transaction date: January 31, 2020.

You can add a transaction as follows:

Click on Deposit Accounts under Accounts. This is where you will find all your accounts. Select Account1 and click on the + in the top-right corner of the screen. Click on Buy… and fill in all fields as shown in the image below:

Adding transactions to your account

When you are done, click on Save to save the transaction. Repeat the steps for Disney: buy 20 shares on January 31, 2020 with 10 dollars of transaction costs. If everything went according to plan you can now see two transactions at the bottom of the screen.

As it stands now you have a negative balance on your account. Normally this is not possible. Using the same + in the top-right corner you can also add a Deposit… to the account. Try adding a deposit of 7.000 dollars. You should now have the following transactions to your account:

The list of transactions

Step 5: Reports

The reports are separated into roughly two parts: an overview of your assets and their relative performance. In the overview you will find a summation of the market value of your investments. This way you know how high your assets are valued at the moment. It might also be interesting to add savings accounts to Porfolio Performance. That way you will have a complete picture of your total wealth.

The performance overview shows your rate of return and the amount of risk you took on. It’s possible to add all kinds of extra widgets to your dashboard if you like with the right mouse button. For example, I chose to add a small performance chart:

Performance screen

Using the buttons in the top-right corner you have a lot of options to create extra dashboards or to adjust the report interval. There are many possibilities to create the dashboards you want.

The performance chart itself is nice, but it doesn’t say much in itself. You want to compare your results to a benchmark. To do this we will first have to add the historical data of an index to our securities list. This is done in the same way as adding a stock.

Follow the instructions of step 3 to add the index to your list. In this case we want to compare our portfolio to the Nasdaq 100 index. Add a new security by searching for ‘Nasdaq’. Scroll through the list of securities until you find ‘NASDAQ 100’ which is of type ‘Index.’ Add this index to your list and again be careful that USD is the selected currency and the latest quote is correct.

Adding an index to your securities

Go to Chart under Performance to add the Nasdaq 100 as a benchmark:

Click on the cog in the top-right corner and afterwards on Add benchmark…. Choose the Nasdaq index to add it as a benchmark. If you now compare our portfolio to the index, you will conclude that our investments are lagging far behind. Maybe we should buy some ETFs instead…

Adding an index as a benchmark

To conclude

Portfolio Performance is a powerful piece of software to track your investments. Unfortunately, the available documentation is somewhat lacking at the moment. The steps above have hopefully made it clearer how you can properly add you portfolio. However, Portfolio Performance contains more options than I could ever cover in a single post. Perhaps there will be a follow-up with more information about taxonomies and watchlists.

If you have any questions about Portfolio Performance, please do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter .