Momentum is a smart beta factor that gives investors excellent upside participation in rising markets. Most other smart beta factors are defensive plays, so Momentum is the place to be in strong upward moves. Momentum filled that role admirably in recent years, rising 56% from 2016 to the September top, compared to an average of +26% for the other major factors.
Portfolio managers who tilt toward Value or Growth stocks have long known that each style carries with it an inherent bias toward some sectors and away from others. Our recent piece, Value Style’s 100-Year Flood, highlighted the significant role that sector weights (overweight Financials and Energy, underweight Technology) played in Value’s decade-long stretch of underperformance.
With an abundance of year-end updates in this edition of Perception for the Professional, we plan to release the content for this “Of Special Interest” section separately in mid-January.
Last month we assessed the effectiveness of using valuation factors as a basis for country allocation. Using 20 years of data, our results showed that they work quite well specifically for Emerging Market (EM) country-rotation, however, the same valuation-based strategy does not appear to be value-added for Developed Market (DM) allocation/rotation.
With the exception of Low Volatility and Profitability, all other factor categories produced positive factor performance in July. The month was eventful, however, as Momentum produced a +4% spread through July 12th, only to give up more than half of that advantage as interest rates rolled back over.
Quantitative investing has become an integral component of professional investment management, and smart beta funds have become popular vehicles for advisors as they assemble actively-managed client portfolios.
Also known as smart beta or strategic beta, factor investing has become the hottest portfolio management trend in the last five years. The smart beta space exceeds $600 billion in assets under management.