Category Archives: Strategy

Standard Benchmarks Extend Standard of Living Through Retirement

What are the steps in selecting a retirement income option?  Of course cost is one of the considerations, but did you know ERISA does not require selecting the lowest cost investments?  These questions and more are explored in a recent video with Ian Kopelman (DLA Piper), and Tim Kohn (Dimensional Fund Advisors): What are some best Read more […]

Innovation in Indexing: Incorporating Options in Indexes to Help Achieve Defined Investment Outcome as a Packaged Solution

For decades, sophisticated institutional investors have been using combinations of options to achieve desired investment outcomes or specific payoff structures. With innovations in indexing, it is now possible to gain passive exposure to those predefined outcome goals. Before we begin to explore how those index strategies are constructed and how such access may be possible, Read more […]

Low Volatility and Market Regime Shifts: Lessons From the First Quarter

Since antiquity, people have measured time in months. Unsurprisingly, investors tend to evaluate performance in monthly increments. This can be troublesome, as we will see in the case of low volatility, particularly during market regime changes. Low volatility strategies are designed to provide investors with protection in falling markets and participation in rising markets. Disappointments Read more […]

Why Your Interest In Weights Should Rise With Rates

Historically as interest rates have risen, equities have done well.  As illustrated in this post, since 1971, the S&P 500 (TR) has gained about 20% on average in rising rate periods, has gained 8 of 9 times and has gained nearly 40% twice with less than a 4% loss for its worst rising rate period.  Also shown Read more […]

There’s Nothing Equal About Equal Weight Returns

Let’s use the S&P 500 as a starting point since it is the most basic beta, or representation of the U.S. stock market.  Since its launch in 1957, it has grown with the stock market and has become the most widely used benchmark of the U.S. stock market with numerous products tracking it.  Although in Read more […]

A new volatility regime? VIX® don’t think so!

Global equity markets experienced a challenging February.  A U.S.-led selloff triggered a spike in volatility; the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) recorded its largest ever daily increase on February 5 to reach its highest level since August 2015. But is higher volatility here to stay? Towards the end of last year, we published a paper – Read more […]

Evaluating Various Financial Ratios Used in Dividend Analysis

There are many ratios that are used to assess the strength of dividends. In this blog, we explore the commonly used dividend measures in income analysis and their applications. We also introduce cash-flow-based measurements, such as free cash flow yield, that can be combined with traditional dividend measurements to provide additional insight into the quality Read more […]

Decomposing Recent Volatility Events Part 2

In my previous blog, we compared a daily inverse index to a “true short” and discussed the increasing vega exposure in the S&P 500® VIX® Short Term Futures Inverse Daily Index over the past couple of years. In this blog, we analyze how the mechanics of a VIX futures index, a low volatility environment, and Read more […]

The Skew Is Not New

Market observers have noted that the S&P 500’s performance so far this year has been dominated by a small number of technology stocks.  This observation is certainly correct, although it’s fair to question the relevance of a statistic based on fewer than two months’ data.  What’s more important is to bear in mind that this Read more […]

Can High Concentrations Lead to Equal-Weight Outperformance?

Assigning equal weights to each constituent, such as in the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index, historically would have offered material outperformance over capitalization-weighted benchmarks across a range of markets.  Earlier this year, we published a paper examining how this occurred. There are several perspectives one can take, ranging from factor or sector exposures all the Read more […]