Historically, small value stocks have been the best performing equity asset class. But the last 10 years has been a period of dismal performance. With their valuations now at a historically attractive level, small-value stocks are priced to outperform.
When not taking on credit risk in a bond investment, which is better: individual Treasury bonds, FDIC-insured CDs or a mutual fund?
At the start of 2019, I compiled a list of predictions that so-called financial gurus had made for the upcoming year for a consensus on the year’s “sure things.” The turn of the calendar means it is now time for our second quarter review.
Given their low yields, are TIPS are a good investment compared to nominal Treasury bonds?
I’ve been getting lots of questions about the benefits of international diversification. The questions are variations of “Why do I want to own these poorly performing investments that also create currency risk?”
When choosing a factor-based strategy, advisors should carefully scrutinize the fund;s construction rules (e.g., the number of securities held) and implementation strategy (e.g., the frequency of rebalancing and the use of patient, algorithmic trading).
Before you jump on the low-volatility bandwagon, it’s important you understand that the research demonstrates that the performance of the low-volatility factor is actually well explained by exposure to other factors, and it is also highly regime dependent.
I am often asked whether the underperformance of U.S. value stocks over the last decade is a result of overcrowding. We can address that issue by examining the spreads in valuations of growth and value stocks. If overcrowding has occurred, we should see a dramatic narrowing in valuations.
Is the rise of passive investing reducing price-discovery efforts, leading to prices being distorted and capital allocated inefficiently?
I recently provided a baker’s dozen list of my favorite books on behavioral finance. Having just finished reading Daniel Crosby’s The Behavioral Investor, my list of favorites has now expanded to 14.
There’s a cliché that money can’t buy happiness. Is that true? Thanks to research from Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, we can answer the question: It does – to a point.
The CAPE 10 provides us with valuable information (as do other current metrics). However, it’s important that the information be used in the right way, as misusing it can lead to bad outcomes and the failure of plans.
ESG indices provided lower absolute and lower risk-adjusted returns than the broad market index.
Planning for a successful retirement is about much more than just an investment strategy that will provide you with sufficient assets to fund your desired lifestyle. It’s also about planning for a meaningful life in retirement.
While an inverted curve may be a reliable indicator that a recession is likely to begin, on average, within 16 months, it is not an indicator reliable enough to allow you to profitably time stock markets.
Non-fundamental demand shocks caused by naive retail investor fund flows help explain the momentum factor.
A new paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston explores the implications of the active-to-passive shift.
Because so much of long-term returns occur over very brief periods, it’s critical that investors stay disciplined, adhering to their asset allocation plan and not paying attention to the noise of the market.
Research demonstrates that the investment factor has explanatory power for the cross section of stock returns, with high-investment firms tending to underperform low-investment ﬁrms.
As tempting as the proposition might be, there isn’t convincing evidence that a style-timing strategy will be profitable.
I will examine three concerns that are often raised about factor-based investing.
With the S&P 500 Index losing 13.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018, the risk of catastrophizing – not only focusing solely on the negative news, but assuming the worst will occur – increased. Reviewing the historical data, however, keeps you from catastrophizing your own financial situation.
Public pension plans are destroying investors’ wealth by allocating assets to separate account managers, private equity and hedge funds.
On Dec. 3, 2018, the yield curve inverted, with the yield of 2.83% on the five-year Treasury note falling to 1 basis point lower than the yield of 2.84% on the three-year Treasury note. Perhaps that “dreaded” event contributed to the Dow Jones industrial average’s 795 point fall that day.
Despite representing about one-eighth of global equity market capitalization, and despite the attractive valuations and growth prospects, the vast majority of U.S. investors have portfolios that dramatically underweight emerging market stocks. Here’s why that is a costly mistake.
I’m often asked for a list of what I consider the best books on the science of investing. With that in mind, I sat down and narrowed my collection to the top baker’s dozen.
Today I’ll look at the conventional wisdom that the tax burden of an investment strategy increases with its turnover. In addition, I’ll discuss why short selling is perceived to be particularly tax inefficient.
The “bucket approach” to retirement planning has been routinely adopted by financial planners, ever since it was popularized by Harold Evensky. Clients keep several years of assets in safe, liquid investments, while investing the rest of their portfolio more aggressively. But new research shows that this approach actually destroys a portion of clients’ wealth.
Investing in municipal bonds is riskier than many investors may perceive, with last year’s $74 billion default by Puerto Rico providing a reminder.
Today my colleague at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, institutional services advisor Tim Jost, will look at some of the latest research on the momentum factor.
A recent survey found that almost 50% of Democrats were not investing. This compares with less than one-third of Republicans not investing. What is behind this dynamic?
Investors should seek opportunities with unique sources of risk and return that improve the efficient frontier by providing diversification benefits. However, understand that some investments exhibit negative skewness and high kurtosis while sacrificing the benefits of daily liquidity.
The 10th anniversary of the Great Financial Crisis is the subject of lots of articles and media coverage. As a result, I’ve been getting many questions about what caused that crisis and the lessons we can take away to prepare for the inevitable next one.
How risky is factor-based investing?
In another article, I looked at the size and volatility of the three equity premiums of beta, size and value. Today we turn our attention to the two premiums that help explain the performance of bond portfolios: term and credit.
Over the almost 25 years that I have been an investment advisor, I’ve learned that one of the greatest problems preventing investors from achieving their financial goals is that, when it comes to judging the performance of an investment strategy, they believe that three years is a long time, five years is a very long time and 10 years is an eternity.
Because of the risk of data mining, an important criterion for considering an investment strategy (such as a factor) is to not only see that a factor adds explanatory power to the cross section of returns while delivering a premium, but that the premium is persistent across time and economic regimes and is pervasive around the globe. By examining the performance of factors outside of the U.S., we create out-of-sample tests.
When studies are done on active versus passive funds, they should be performed on an apples-to-apples basis – to account for different exposures to the factors, such as size, value, momentum and profitability/quality, that explain differences in returns. Here’s how some researchers who failed to do this reached a surprising conclusion.
Perhaps the simplest strategy is to hold just three funds. For equities, you can own the Vanguard Total Market Index Fund and the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund. On the bond side, you can own the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund. But such an approach ignores the academic evidence demonstrating there are certain factors that have provided above-market returns to investors willing and able to accept their additional risks.
I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about the merits of owning TIPS versus nominal bonds. With that in mind, today I’ll discuss how to determine the more appropriate strategy.
Research provides evidence supporting the pervasiveness of the size, value and momentum premiums. That should give investors further confidence that the premiums found in these factors in developed markets were not a result of data mining exercises, which, in turn, should offer confidence that an ex-ante premium for these factors exists around the globe.
If active management persistence is not significantly greater than should be expected at random, investors cannot separate skill-based performance (which might be able to persist) from luck-based performance (which eventually runs out).
When past returns are high, the risks of owning high-beta stocks significantly increase. Mutual fund investors should be sure they understand their fund’s level of exposure to market beta after periods of strong performance.
Investors and advisors have become concerned about the possibility, if not the likelihood, of the Treasury yield curve inverting. The reason for the concern is that the slope of the yield curve historically has been a good recession predictor.
The size premium’s relatively poor performance in U.S. stocks over the seven-year period from 2011 through 2017 caused many investors to question its persistence. I will address whether that skepticism is justified.
Like clockwork, each year the S&P SPIVA scorecard reports actively managed funds’ persistent failure to outperform appropriate, risk-adjusted benchmarks. The only thing different, it seems, is that each year the active management community contrives yet another explanation for its failure. And each time, those explanations are exposed as lame excuses.
Most investors believe that all passively managed funds in the same asset class are virtual substitutes for one another. The result is that, when choosing a specific fund, their sole focus is on its expense ratio. That is a mistake for a wide variety of reasons. The first is that expense ratios are not a mutual fund’s only expense.
A question I’m often asked involves the merits of investing in private real estate as an alternative to publicly available REITs. To answer that question, I will turn to the historical evidence.
A landmark study looked back at more than 100 years of data and 23 countries to determine if there are reasons to believe the cross-sectional patterns in factor returns will persist, or whether they were just anomalies that tended to disappear after publication.
Women face at least 12 unique financial and life challenges related to long-term retirement planning. Addressing them can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. Only by understanding the issues can you develop strategies that will provide the greatest chance of achieving your clients’ goals.