Tag Archives: concentration

Higher Concentrations in the S&P 500 could lead to Equal Weight Outperformance

At last Friday’s close, S&P Dow Jones assigned a number of technology and consumer discretionary names into a new “Communication Services” sector classification.  Relative to the old Telecommunication Services definitions, the sector has grown from 3 to 22 companies (not counting dual share listings) and is less concentrated in absolute terms.  However, Communications Services remains Read more […]

How Equal Weight Avoided Japan’s “Lost Decades”

S&P Dow Jones Indices recently launched the S&P Japan 500 Equal Weight Index, an equal-weight version of the S&P Japan 500.  Over the 15-year period ending in February 2018, encompassing the latter part of Japan’s so-called “lost decades” of stagnant equity returns, the equal-weight index would have outperformed the cap-weighted Japanese equity benchmark by a stonking Read more […]

Technology may be de-FANGed, but could the CHANDs leave you hanging?

It has not been a great start to the week for the technology sector, with large-cap tech stocks dragging down equity indices across the globe. With the current media focus on the industry behemoths, suitably arranged into fun acronyms (“FANGs” and so on), investors in the U.S. tech sector might be concerned about the risks 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 […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 5 – Genuine Skill?

Should active managers shift away from well-diversified portfolios and concentrate only on “high conviction” holdings in hope of generating higher returns?  We have suggested four consequences — higher risk, greater dominance of luck over skill, higher costs, and fewer outperforming funds — that are likely and logical outcomes of higher concentration.  All four apply even for active Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 4 – More Underperformers

Can active managers improve performance by moving from relatively diversified to relatively concentrated portfolios?  Doing so is likely to increase risk, shift the relative importance of luck and skill, and raise trading costs.  A fourth consequence is that the probability of active underperformance is likely to increase. A simple example provides some insight.  Imagine a market with five Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 3 – Higher Costs

Some active managers argue that the remedy for widespread active underperformance is more aggressive, more concentrated portfolios.  If this is the correct prescription, it has a number of adverse side effects — for example, risk is likely to increase, and the relative importance of skill and luck in decision making is likely to shift in luck’s favor. A Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 2 – Luck Ascendant

Is the remedy for active managers’ well-known performance difficulties to become more active? Some observers think so, and argue that less diversified, more concentrated portfolios should be the wave of active management’s future.  But there are a number of adverse consequences to concentration — for example, risk is likely to increase.   A second consequence is that in manager Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 1 – More Risk

Most active managers fail most of the time, at least if we regard their underperformance of passive benchmarks as indicative of failure.   This fact is so well known and widely documented that even staunch advocates of active management acknowledge it. What remains in dispute is what should be done to improve performance.  Some argue that active Read more […]