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For optimal efficiency we look at multiple factors

Factor investing research

Low Volatility in historical perspective: Fund investing since 1774

21-09-2016 | Research | Jan Sytze Mosselaar, Pim van Vliet, PhD

As portfolio managers of Robeco Conservative Equities, we want to place our role into a historical perspective and learn from the history of financial markets, and mutual funds in particular. History teaches us that good ideas do not necessarily guarantee successful funds. Timing is everything. Still, capital protection, high income and low turnover are timeless factors that are still relevant today.

The quality of low-risk credits

14-09-2016 | Research | Frederik Muskens, Jeroen van Zundert, Mark Whirdy, Patrick Houweling, PhD

Recently a new factor was added to the literature: Quality. In credits, we see Quality as a natural extension of pure Low-Risk. All our credit factor models have used Quality since inception, and have expanded its use over the years.

Honey, how much did you say you paid for these low-vol stocks?

12-09-2016 | Research | Maarten Polfliet, Pim van Vliet, PhD

Investors are worried about the high valuations of stocks in general and low-volatility stocks in particular. And so are we! In relative terms, low-volatility stocks have become more expensive during the last two years, but it’s not the first time. It happened first in 2008 and again in 2011.

Integrating sustainability into factor credit strategies

12-07-2016 | Research | Frederik Muskens, Jeroen van Zundert, Mark Whirdy, Patrick Houweling, PhD

Our factor credit strategies have two main objectives: maximizing the portfolio’s factor exposure and limiting sustainability risks. How do we integrate these two goals?

Factor Investing with smart beta indices

06-07-2016 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

Smart beta indices are a popular way of implementing a factor investing strategy. However, research suggests that this may not the best way, as the factor exposure provided by popular smart beta strategies varies greatly and they do not unlock the full potential of factor premiums.

Conservative Equities in historical perspective: Investment behavior since 1602

18-04-2016 | Research | Jan Sytze Mosselaar, Pim van Vliet, PhD

Since the birth of the modern stock market in 1602, the pendulum of the investment culture has moved from a return focus to a risk focus and back.

Factor Investing in the Corporate Bond Market

11-12-2015 | Research | Jeroen van Zundert, Patrick Houweling, PhD

We provide empirical evidence that the Size, Low-Risk, Value and Momentum factors have significant risk-adjusted returns in the corporate bond market. By combining these factors in a multi-factor portfolio, drawdowns and tracking error vs. the market are reduced, while the higher return and Sharpe ratio are preserved.

Is value trapped?

04-12-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

The poor long-term live performance of the first generation of value indices indicates that capturing the value premium is not easy. This does not mean, however, that the value premium is beyond the reach of investors. We argue that a value premium still exists, but that harvesting it requires an approach that is much more sophisticated than simply following a straightforward value index.

The beauty and the beast of value and momentum investing

22-07-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

We usually focus on how to make a good investment strategy even better, but in recent research we looked at how to make it worse.

Is rebalancing the source of factor premiums?

12-02-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

Some argue that the mere mechanism of rebalancing increases returns, and that this explains the success of factor investment strategies. Although factor strategies do need rebalancing to maintain their exposures, there are several reasons why it is unlikely that this is their source of added value.

Robeco quant EM equities outperforms generic factor indices

19-01-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD, Wilma de Groot, CFA

We have compared the realized performance of our quantitative emerging markets equities (QEME) strategies with the hypothetical performance of recently launched generic factor indices.

What drives the value premium?

16-10-2014 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

The empirical evidence for the presence of a value premium in stock markets is overwhelming. But why does this phenomenon exist? A new white paper examines a popular explanation.

When factors disagree

30-09-2014 | Research | Bart Van der Grient, David Blitz, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD

Generic strategies designed to harvest a certain factor premium regularly conflict with other factor premiums. We find that the premiums associated with these strategies tend to shrink, sometimes even to zero, in these periods of factor disagreement. But enhanced factor strategies avoid stocks that are unattractive on other established factors and continue to deliver when generic factor strategies struggle.

Efficient factor investing strategies - A ‘Sharper’ approach to harvesting factor premiums

27-08-2014 | Research | David Blitz, PhD, Joop Huij, PhD

There is a shift towards allocating to the factor premiums momentum, value and low volatility. However, since common factor indexes are a suboptimal way to harvest factor premiums, this paper shows the improved results of a more sophisticated approach. Factor strategies developed by Robeco lead to higher returns, while lowering the risks, resulting in higher Sharpe ratios.

How Smart is 'Smart Beta' Investing?

05-06-2014 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

Investors increasingly embrace “smart beta” investing, by which we mean passively following an index in which stock weights are not proportional to their market capitalizations, but based on some alternative weighting scheme. Examples include fundamentally-weighted indices and minimum-volatility indices. In this whitepaper we first take a critical look at the pros and cons of smart beta investing in general. After this we successively discuss the most popular types of smart indices that have been introduced in recent years.

Strategic Allocation to Commodity Factor Premiums

18-07-2013 | Research | David Blitz, PhD, Wilma de Groot, CFA

Commodities have become less popular for investors. They are wondering if the traditional arguments for investing in commodities – like diversification- still apply. This paper explores a better way to invest: by setting up a commodity factor portfolio

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Joop Huij, PhD
Head of Factor Investing Research


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