Category Archives: Strategy

Who’s Calculating Your Index?

Most investors assume that ETFs are passive investment tools tracking independently calculated indices, that premise has arguably been one of the key factors driving the popularity of ETFs.  In the past investors and advisors could be confident about their understanding of an ETF by reviewing the rules governing the underlying index.  To a large extent Read more […]

If it ain’t broke, don’t VIX it

Within the last week, we’ve read about threats of another war in the Middle East, collapsing currencies across emerging markets, imminent rumblings of yet another Greek bailout.  As of this writing, there is one day left until the Fed’s much anticipated pronouncement on the “end” of QE.  Talk abounds of September being the worst month Read more […]

Man Bites Dog

Everyone wants to invest with the ‘smartest guys in the room’. But what do the smartest guys invest in? Well, a poll of mutual fund professionals suggests a very surprising result. As regular readers of this blog will know, while there are plenty of managers who can show attractive returns over the past few quarters Read more […]

Beta, Smart and Dumb

The idea of “smart beta” is gaining increased acceptance, although not without some controversy.  I have to confess that I really dislike the term “smart beta,” and not just because I didn’t invent it.  “Alternative beta” I can live with, or “factor” indices, or “strategy” indices — but “smart” beta leaves me cold. Which is Read more […]

Jaw-Boning at the Fed

When the FOMC minutes were released on Wednesday (August 21st) at 2:00 PM analysts and investors combed through all ten pages looking for some hint of when QE3 might be tapered or what new trigger was be watched by the Fed.  This was old news from a time capsule:  The meeting was three weeks earlier Read more […]

Fear Gauge Spikes: Let’s Play Hot Potato

For what risk does the commodity investor get paid? At what point is the fear gauge so high the risk gets passed like a hot potato? The answers to these questions will help explain why post the global financial crisis there has been a link between VIX spikes and commodity losses. Let’s address the first Read more […]

Indexing Multi-Asset Solutions

Multi-asset strategies have been traditionally offered via active management. Institutional and high net worth investors have used multi-asset strategies to meet their specific needs such as matching liabilities and achieving absolute returns. As the indexing industry evolves beyond asset class beta and systematic risk premia, we are starting to see multi-asset investment solutions offered in Read more […]

Good Calls and Bad Calls of Covered Calls

Generally investors use covered calls to earn extra income from investments they think might not have much upside potential.  For example, if a CEO has a very large stock holding in his or her company but doubts the stock price will increase (or decrease much), writing (selling) options on the stock to collect a premium Read more […]

Index Rehab: Is Backwardation Back In-Style?

My colleague, David Blitzer, is discussing index construction in his blog series “Inside the S&P 500”, and so far has reviewed selecting stocks and the float adjustment. While the index construction principles of transparency, liquidity, and systematic rules-based methodologies are widely similar between equities, commodities and other asset classes, there are details that distinguish the asset Read more […]

Paying Too Much at the Pump?!

Why are gas prices so high? I know I’m not alone as “a commodity lady” wondering this as I pull out my credit card to pay at the pump. (Which is not often since I ride my bicycle to work most days) Gasoline prices typically rise in the summer because more people travel to take Read more […]