Tag Archives: factor indices

Sep 8, 2020

Even Smarter Beta in South Africa? – Diversifying and Optimizing

The equity risk premia from factors (such as quality, momentum, and low volatility) have been widely accepted and adopted by investment practitioners across the globe and South Africa alike. The belief by many is that exposure to these risk factors, in addition to the market, could reward investors over the long term. While the long-term…

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Jul 27, 2020

How Factors Behaved Differently in the Australian Market in the First Half of 2020

In our paper “How Smart Beta Strategies Work in the Australian Market,” we examined the long-term performance characteristics of S&P DJI’s Australian factor indices in different market trends. In the first half of 2020, the Australian equities market had a roller coaster response to the coronavirus outbreak, global market crash, and government stimulus packages. While…

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Jul 13, 2020

Battle of Factors: Low Volatility versus High Beta

2020 has surprised us all with a number of firsts. Not only did we witness wild swings in the market from one quarter to the next, we also saw an unusual performance of commonly followed factors. While this blog will not attempt to predict factor performance, it will address recent factor behavior and put this…

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Jun 17, 2020

Is ESG a Factor? The S&P 500 ESG Index’s Steady Outperformance

Since launching the S&P ESG Index Series, we have been continuously asked the same question: Can environmental, social, and governance (ESG) be considered a factor that outperforms? In short, since its launch in January 2019, the S&P 500® ESG Index has outperformed (see Exhibit 1). We further analyzed the performance characteristics of the S&P 500…

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May 12, 2020

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,…

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Nov 11, 2019

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…

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Jan 30, 2018

Factor Investing 101

For many years, active fund managers and institutional investors have often used a factor-based approach either to strategically construct portfolios or to tilt their portfolios toward well-known risk factors, such as low volatility, value, momentum, dividend, size, and quality, to capture the factor risk premium. Investors seeking to identify skilled active managers look to dissect…

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May 9, 2017

Multiple Paths to Multiple Factor Indexing

Single factor “smart beta” indicized strategies that were once exclusive to the realm of active management.   Multifactor indexing is beginning to garner much interest as the newest chapter of index innovation. It’s a natural conjecture that if single factors are successful, combining more than one factor should prove even more beneficial.   While any combination of…

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Mar 9, 2017

2016 Market Performance through the Lens of Smart Beta

Participants in the Indian equity market in 2016 may have been disappointed with the muted performance by broad equity market indices (the S&P BSE SENSEX was up 3.47% for the year), while other asset classes such as bonds showed strong performance (the S&P BSE Bond Index was up 13.2%).  Where could market participants have found…

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Jan 3, 2017

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…

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