Tag Archives: smart beta

Q&A: What is factor investing?

We recently hosted Tim Edwards, Senior Director, Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, for an in-depth discussion about factor-based investing and the role it can play in a diversified portfolio. Chris: What is factor investing? What are the factors? Tim: To be a factor, two things in particular need to be true. The Read more […]

Avoiding Beta Pollution in the Search for Value

In our latest S&P 500® Factor Indices Dashboard, Tim Edwards wrote, “Value’s return to form came after a decade of meagre pickings.  In fact, value recorded in its best annual relative performance since 2000.” Small wonder then that the S&P 500 Enhanced Value Index and S&P 500 Pure Value were popular topics of financial advisor Read more […]

Multi-Factor Indexes: More Bang for Your Buck

Many advisors are unsure whether introducing factor-tilt ‘smart beta’ strategies into portfolios will improve client outcomes. In fact, some factor tilt portfolios appear to provide the equivalent of levered exposures to a diverse set of alternative risk premia. This is because factor tilt portfolios may contain much greater than 100% exposure to several risk factors Read more […]

A New Metric for Smart Beta: The Cost-Adjusted Factor Efficiency Ratio

With an increasing number of smart beta strategies that track the same factor in the marketplace, it is more important than ever to understand the underlying drivers of risk and return of these strategies, which can vary greatly.  This is because the underlying portfolio construction of these strategies determines risk and return and, ultimately, the Read more […]

Smart Beta in India

2016 has been an unpredictable year on many fronts, whether it was Leicester City FC winning the Premier League, the Brexit, or the U.S. election results.  In India, “demonetization” and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are fundamentally altering fund managers’ target portfolios.  Active institutional fund managers have the benefit of professionally run research teams. 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 […]

The Making of a Passivist

I have few memories of my school French, but one of the fondest is of Moliere’s Monsieur Jourdain, who was delighted to learn in middle age that he had been speaking prose for the last 40 years.  Similarly, I did not realize until recently that I was a “passivist,” as the Wall Street Journal has now anointed the Read more […]

When Smart Beta Fails

How should an investor in a factor (or “smart beta”) index judge its performance?  In this respect at least, smart beta is like any other strategy: you should evaluate it against the claims that its vendors made before you bought it. This requires some subtlety.  Smart beta methodologies pick stocks based on fundamental or technical Read more […]

Indicizing Income

This morning’s Wall Street Journal described one aspect of the “Brave New World” occasioned by ultra-low (or negative) interest rates: Tellingly, strategists at Citigroup have created a basket of stocks for what they call “bond refugees”—investors who want yield but without the big swings in prices associated with equities. To do so, they looked for stocks Read more […]

Indexing Alternatives To Survive Brexit

Following the vote by UK citizens to officially leave the European Union, the S&P 500 lost 5.3% in 2 days (Jun. 24-27, 2016) before gaining back 4.5% for a total loss 1.1% through July 5.  In those two down days, gold posted its best consecutive 2-day gain since Aug. 8-9, 2011.  Gold is known as a Read more […]