Category Archives: Smart Beta

Avoid Unintended Stock Market Bets by Understanding Benchmarks

In a recent Financial Planning article,[1] Craig Israelsen advocated using stock market size segments to construct portfolios rather than a total market approach.  His conclusion may be perfectly valid for market participants willing and able to bear greater small-stock exposure, but his analysis fails to adequately take account of this source of risk.  He compared Read more […]

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Here are some recent headlines about the consequences of passive investing: Japan Central Bank’s ETF Shopping Spree Is Becoming a Worry Passive Market Share to Overtake Active in the US No Later than 2024 Passive investing boom is creating a ‘frightening’ risk for markets ETFs are taking over the world, and there’s nothing anyone can Read more […]

Impact of Term Structure on VIX® Futures Correlation with Bond Sectors

Recently my colleague wrote about the correlation between VIX (spot and futures) and two credit sectors (high-yield and emerging market bonds).  The blog shows that VIX futures exhibit stronger negative correlation than VIX spot and that this stronger negative correlation of bonds to VIX futures than to VIX spot comes mostly from down markets.  In Read more […]

Correlation Analysis of VIX® and High Yield and Emerging Market Bonds

The CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX) measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500® over a 30-day period.  It is widely followed by market participants across asset classes to gauge market sentiment.  Traditionally, fixed income market participants have incorporated it into macro analysis. Can VIX-related products be used as hedging tools for some bond sectors that Read more […]

Carbon Exposure of Smart Beta Indices

Carbon emission awareness has been gaining greater prominence on many market participants’ radar as they continue to seek and demand carbon emission information and related risks for companies associated with climate change.  To address this need, the Financial Stability Board taskforce recently published a series of recommendations on how companies should report climate-related risks and Read more […]

Financials Gain More Prominence in Latest Low Vol Rebalance

Volatility has been generally subdued so far this year.  In the latest rebalance, the S&P 500® Low Volatility Index’s most significant sector shift was to Financials (adding 5% to bring the sector to 21% of the index).  Allocation in the remaining sectors did not deviate too far from the last rebalance. Technology’s weight, which increased Read more […]

Australian Markets: Mid Caps a Sweet Spot for Investors

We have previously taken a dive into performance differences between Australian market cap segments and observed that mid caps offer a “sweet spot” for market participants.  Year-to-date, this message continues to resonate—the S&P/ASX MidCap 50 has returned 10.1% as of July 13, 2017.  Meanwhile, corresponding large-, small-, and broad market indices have returned measurably less Read more […]

Understanding the Value Spectrum

Value investing, made famous by Benjamin Graham in his book Intelligent Investor nearly 70 years ago, is possibly the most well-known investment strategy.  Although the strategy may appear simple at first glance—buying securities with prices that are trading at discount multiples than their fundamental values—it can be tricky to implement.  For example, value can be Read more […]

When Market Timing Is Unusually Pointless

Among the many themes to have emerged in U.S. markets during the first six months of 2017, low volatility in equities and changes in the global interest rate environment—some realized and some anticipated—were particularly important drivers.  In a similar vein to our summary on Europe, here are some thoughts on these trends. The potential rewards Read more […]

Confusing Means and Ends

This morning’s Wall Street Journal informs us that the growth of exchange-traded funds has “propelled” this year’s surge in equity prices.  “Booming demand for passive investments is making exchange-traded funds an increasingly crucial driver of share prices….Surging demand for ETFs this year has to an unprecedented extent helped fuel the latest leg higher for the Read more […]