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

A PIP Off the Old Block

The staff of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued an opinion letter discussing the use of “pre-inception index performance (PIP)” data in communications about exchange-traded financial instruments.  Importantly, the letter permits the use of PIP data (i.e., backtested or simulated results) in presentations to institutions (although not to retail investors). No good deed Read more […]

Low Volatility: Success or Failure?

One of the consequences of May’s shift in leadership of the U.S. equity market from defensive to cyclical sectors has been the underperformance of most (if not all) low volatility strategies. Does this mean, as some commentators have suggested (e.g. see http://www.indexuniverse.com/hot-topics/18860-when-low-volatilitty-bites-back.html?showall=&fullart=1&start=4), that low volatility strategies “failed?” Making a judgment of success or failure, about Read more […]

The Other Shoe?

One of the striking things about May’s U.S. equity performance was that although the market continued the strength it had shown between January through April, it was strong in a different way. http://us.spindices.com/documents/commentary/dashboard-us-20130531.pdf For example, the best-performing sector in the first four months of the year was Utilities (up 19.74%); in May the Utilities sector Read more […]

History, Real and Simulated

Show me a man who’s never been burned by relying on a backtest and I’ll show you a man who’s never relied on a backtest at all  (either that or a fictional character).  Skepticism toward backtested results is endemic among investment professionals, and rightly so.  And yet… when a new concept comes along, backtested performance Read more […]

Tennis Without a Net

Indices existed well before the launch of indexed financial products. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, e.g., goes back to 1896; the first indexed institutional portfolios appeared in the 1970s, the first index mutual fund in 1976, and the first index-tracking exchange traded funds in the 1990s. In all these cases, the index provider was independent Read more […]

Equity Auguries?

The market for credit default swaps is typically not well-understood by equity investors (myself emphatically included).  This is unfortunate, since the price of insuring a company’s bonds (which is what a CDS measures) can sometimes provide insight into the same company’s equity securities. For example, in September 2012, the S&P 500 financials sector began to Read more […]

Joining the Index Club

The Wall Street Journal recently urged its readers to “Beware of Index Funds That Aren’t” (http://on.wsj.com/Xycv7P). If some soi-disant index funds “aren’t,” which ones “are” — or, at the most basic level, what is an index? A good working definition of an index is this: an index is a portfolio in which constituent and weighting Read more […]

Monkey See, Monkey Do?

A recently published paper  received a fair amount of publicity for its suggestion that portfolios selected randomly by monkeys would have outperformed a capitalization-weighted index of the same universe.  In recent years it seems like everyone is bashing cap-weighted indices, so it was probably only a matter of time until apes took a shot. Maybe Read more […]

Market Attributes: Index Dashboard

Simple juxtapositions can sometimes produce insight, or so at least runs the theory behind our just-introduced monthly U.S. index dashboard: http://us.spindices.com/documents/commentary/dashboard_032813_2914.pdf. For the first quarter of 2013, e.g., we can observe that: The equity markets were very strong (no revelation there), with both the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 both up more than 10% and Read more […]

Income Beyond Bonds

With both short- and long-term interest rates in the basement, income-sensitive investors have naturally begun to look to equities.  Significantly, the yield on the S&P 500 now exceeds that of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond – a relationship last seen in approximately 1958.  But if some equity yield is good, does that mean that more Read more […]