Category Archives: Smart Beta

Quality Part I: Defining the Quality Factor

Quality is a factor that is frequently disputed and debated. Academics and practitioners often argue whether quality is a factor at all in the traditional risk factor framework. Often times, the debate stems from the fact that there is no one consistent, overarching definition or metric to measure quality. For example, some market participants see Read more […]

A Risk of the “Participate but Protect” Mentality

I recently completed several meetings with financial advisors in Kansas and Tennessee. Traveling to meet with advisors in their offices or at events is something that I enjoy doing and informs my love of the work that our team does in advisor education. However, I am troubled by a reoccurring conversation that came up. In Read more […]

Active Management’s Dynamic Exposures to Size and Value Style Factors

In prior blogs,[i] we discussed the return contribution of mega-cap securities in 2017, as well as the impact of style classifications that may give small-cap active managers more autonomy to invest in significantly different risk exposures. In this blog, we look at active factor risks taken by active managers across three market-cap ranges against the Read more […]

Sector Volatility Conveys Most (But Not All) of the Story in the Latest S&P 500 Low Volatility Index Rebalance

In January 2018, realized volatility (rolling 252-day) for the S&P 500 reached a 27-year low. Since then, volatility has been steadily creeping up and as of April 30, 2018, it sat at 12.1%—almost double the levels in January. Despite having increased significantly, volatility is still well below the historical average of 16%. Rolling 252-Day Volatility Read more […]

Interest Rate Risk of Low Volatility Indices – Part II

In a previous blog, we performed preliminary exploration of rising interest rate exposure of the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index. In this blog, we continue the analysis to see if there is a relationship between the magnitude of interest rate change and magnitude of active return of the low volatility index relative to the S&P Read more […]

Interest Rate Risk of Low Volatility Indices

A topic commonly brought up when interest rates rise is the impact that rates have on the performance of low volatility indices. Several studies[1][2] have shown that low volatility portfolios have exposure to rising interest rate risk. One of the main drivers of this exposure stems from the bond-like characteristics of sectors usually favored by Read more […]

Do Dividends Really Pay? (Part 2)

Previously I discussed why preference for dividend-paying stocks may not have a strong theoretical footing, but could be grounded in behavioral and practical reasons. Furthermore, due to possible economic signaling generated by dividends, such strategies may be correlated with widely accepted factors like quality and value. This post demonstrates how specific dividend strategy indices may Read more […]

The Impact of Style Classification on Active Management Performance in 2017: Part 2

In our previous blog, we highlighted the contribution to domestic equity market returns by mega-cap stocks in 2017 and the implications for active management. In this blog, we focus our discussion on investment style classification. Specifically, we analyze the impact of the style classification scheme on managers’ performance analysis, such as in the SPIVA® U.S. Read more […]

Carbon-Efficient Portfolio Construction Part 2: Sector-Relative Improves Efficiency

In a prior blog, we demonstrated that unconstrained carbon-efficient portfolios have significant unintended (and unfavorable) sector and risk factor tilts that can drag down performance. In this follow-up blog, we explore potential ways sector-relative, carbon-efficient portfolios can address the drawbacks of sector-unconstrained, carbon-efficient portfolios. To form sector-relative, carbon-efficient quintile portfolios, we ranked and grouped securities Read more […]

Carbon-Efficient Portfolio Construction Part 1: Unconstrained Versus Sector Relative

As more institutions start to adopt low-carbon investing into their investment processes, it’s important to understand portfolio implications of incorporating carbon risk. We recently published a research paper in which we demonstrated how carbon efficiency can be integrated into factor portfolios. In a series of blog posts, we will be discussing our findings. We evaluated Read more […]