Tag Archives: diversification

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 […]

The Wrong Diagnosis

This morning’s Wall Street Journal described how “a $1.4 billion ETF gold rush” supposedly has disturbed the pricing of mining stocks around the world.  $1.4 billion turns out to be the incremental cash flow into a single exchange-traded fund designed to track an index of the gold mining industry, including some relatively small-capitalization companies.  These Read more […]

Diversification and Risk Management

Recently, I attended a session by an expert on good health.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that besides diet and exercise, emotional and spiritual health is essential to a holistic lifestyle. When there are many elements to achieving a certain goal, it is of primary importance that each of those elements is included and Read more […]

Visualizing Factor Exposures

Measuring the away-from-benchmark exposures of active portfolios (or “smart beta” indices) is not inherently complicated.  To what degree, for example, is a portfolio cheaper than its benchmark, or more tilted toward high quality stocks?  Practitioners typically approach the question in one of several ways: Calculating weighted average differences – e.g., the yield on my portfolio is Read more […]

Japanese Market Participants Accessing U.S. Treasuries (Part 2)

Japanese market participants looking to access U.S. Treasury bonds or any other international bond market may need to be aware of fixed income risk and currency volatility.  Depending on their investment view, Japanese market participants may choose to hedge currency risk or remain unhedged. Either way, market participants may be exposed to additional returns or Read more […]

Japanese Market Participants Accessing U.S. Treasuries (Part 1)

Since the negative interest rate policy was announced by the Bank of Japan, the yield of the S&P Japan Sovereign Bond Index has tightened 33 bps to -0.07%, as of Aug. 23, 2016.  As the quantitative and qualitative easing program continues, some Japanese market participants seek investments that diversify their portfolios.  U.S. treasury bonds have 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 […]