Craig Lazzara

Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy
S&P Dow Jones Indices
Biography

Craig Lazzara is Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy for S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). The index investment strategy team provides research and commentary across the S&P DJI product set, with particular focus on the active-passive debate, factor indices, and index dynamics. Craig previously served as product manager for S&P DJI’s U.S. equity and real estate indices. These include the S&P 500® and the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, two of the most widely tracked benchmarks in the world.

Prior to joining S&P Indices in 2009, Craig was a managing director of Abacus Analytics, a quantitative consulting firm serving the brokerage and investment management communities. He previously directed marketing and client service for ETF Advisors and Salomon Smith Barney’s Global Equity Index Group, as well as for the Equity Portfolio Analysis group at Salomon Brothers. Earlier, Craig served as chief investment officer of Centurion Capital Management and Vantage Global Advisors, as a managing director of TSA Capital Management, and as a vice president and portfolio manager for Mellon Bank and T. Rowe Price Associates.

A Chartered Financial Analyst, Craig is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Author Archives: Craig Lazzara

Factors and Factor Indices

There is a subtle but important distinction between factors and factor indices.  “Factor” denotes an attribute with which long-term excess returns are thought to be associated.  Fama and French, for instance, famously found that small size and cheap valuation were factors in this sense.  A number of other variables – prominently including momentum, low volatility, Read more […]

Two Sides of Volatility

I was recently asked whether volatility was particularly challenging for index fund owners or for active investors.  The answer is “yes.” For index funds, the challenge arises because rising volatility typically accompanies poor returns.  Between 1991 and 2019, e.g., months in which the S&P 500’s volatility was above median averaged modestly negative total returns.  In Read more […]

The Defensive Advantage

A wise man told me years ago that there are some things you can’t get if you go after them directly.  If you’ve ever watched someone trying to sound interesting, you’ll realize the truth of my friend’s observation.  There are plenty of interesting people out there, of course, but they achieve that status by pursuing Read more […]

Performance Trickery, part 3

Success is hard to come by for active managers, as readers of our SPIVA reports know well.  Sometimes what appears to be stock selection skill is in fact simply a byproduct of style drift across the capitalization scale. A majority of large-cap active managers outperformed the S&P 500 only 3 times in 19 years of Read more […]

Coronaviral Correlations

Mea culpa: Roughly a month ago I used a dispersion-correlation map to describe how index dynamics can illuminate market movements.  In particular, I reported that since high dispersion seems to be a necessary condition for a bear market, and S&P 500 dispersion levels at the end of February were far below those prevailing in past Read more […]

Equity Liquidity at a Reasonable Price

The fall in equity market values since February’s peak has been sudden and dramatic.  During this period, the equity markets have functioned well at their primary task of facilitating price discovery at a time when values were changing rapidly.  Equity investors who wanted to trade have been able to trade.  (Whether they were wise to Read more […]

Cushioning the Decline

With the S&P 500 down -14.7% for calendar 2020, and -18.8% since its peak in late February, investors are rightly concerned to identify strategies that might help to mitigate the ongoing decline.  A number of defensive factor indices have performed relatively well in March, but the leader for the year so far is S&P 500 Read more […]

The Most Dangerous Words

The four most dangerous words in investing are “This time it’s different.”  –  Sir John Templeton As investors ponder the ultimate extent of the coronavirus epidemic, this week’s equity market declines are of natural concern to every asset owner.  The obvious question, after near-record point drops in major indices yesterday and today, is how much Read more […]

Common Confusion

The critics of passive investing are nothing if not creative.  One of their objections to the growth of index funds stems from the putative problem of “common ownership.”  The argument is that index funds’ ownership of many of the competitors in most industries encourages or facilitates collusive behavior.  “[T]he fear is that by owning chunks Read more […]

A Way of Seeing

A wise man told me years ago that sometimes the things we see are less important than our way of seeing.  As more formerly-active investors begin to use passive vehicles, it’s useful to consider if there’s a distinctly index-centric way of seeing, and what its elements might be.  I think that there are at least Read more […]