Category Archives: Smart Beta

Performance Attribution of the S&P 500® Quality Index

The past two months saw bouts of market volatility, which in turn is causing market participants to refocus on defensive equity strategies. Quality, together with other defensive factors such as low volatility, has a higher degree of downside protection compared with other risk factors like value or momentum. For example, during months in which the Read more […]

Factor Use is Growing Among Financial Advisors and Institutional Investors

Factor investing is growing rapidly — not only are more investors adopting factor strategies, but as investors gain experience, they increase their use of them. This is one of the key findings from our recent Global Factor Investing Study, which is based on face-to-face interviews and discussions with more than 300 institutional and wholesale factor Read more […]

Shelter from the Storm

As we approach the final month of a rollercoaster year in the markets, adding a factor lens can provide perspective, especially when it comes to low volatility. The goal of low volatility strategies is to provide investors with protection in falling markets and participation in rising markets. The need for protection has become more relevant Read more […]

The Virtues of Slow and Steady

For most of 2018, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® underperformed its parent S&P 500. Through the first nine months of 2018, the S&P 500 climbed 11% while the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index was up only 6%. Then October came and, in one month of acute volatility, the low volatility index recaptured parity with Read more […]

Bonding with Defensive Equity Strategies

“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” – Aristotle Recent volatility in equity markets may be unsettling to some investors. Skittishness about the stock market is understandable, especially in the context of the serenity in 2017. Volatility levels are relatively higher and risk is on the radar of Read more […]

Adding the “Factor Flavour” to Indexing

Many people believe that index-based investing and market beta are synonymous. With the growing popularity of index-based investing, exchange-traded funds and index funds based on market benchmarks such as the S&P BSE SENSEX, S&P BSE 100, and S&P BSE 500 are slowly gaining ground. Investors have been familiarizing themselves with market returns linked to these Read more […]

Playing Defense and Offense With Factor Strategies

The domestic equity market, as measured by the S&P Composite 1500®, ended Q3 2018 with a gain of 10.47%. Over the past 10 years, the S&P Composite 1500 had annualized returns of 12.05%, showing an impressive bullish run since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Perhaps reflecting the market environment, growth-oriented investment styles, such as momentum Read more […]

Measuring Earnings Quality – Balance Sheet Accruals Ratio Versus Earnings Variability

The balance sheet accruals ratio (BSA)[1] is widely used in the investment community to measure earnings quality.[2] This is in part due to accruals being perceived as transient and subject to considerable estimations, manipulations, and potential misrepresentations.[3] BSA is one of the three quality metrics used in the S&P Quality Index Series. We define BSA Read more […]

Combining the Quality Factor With Carbon-Efficient Portfolios – A Higher Quality Tilt With a Lower Carbon Footprint

In a previous blog, we highlighted that carbon-efficient firms tended to be high-quality companies. Moreover, integrated quality + carbon-efficiency hypothetical portfolios tended to have higher risk-adjusted returns and were more carbon efficient than the underlying benchmark. In this blog, we look into the risk and return characteristics of those hypothetical portfolios. This exercise helps us Read more […]

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 […]