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While conventional momentum strategies typically generate high returns, they tend to be exposed to high degrees of unrewarded dynamic risk. Robeco’s approach is aimed at avoiding those risks.
Although Factor Investing is rapidly gaining popularity, there are still ongoing debates about this concept. In our view, the key feature of Factor Investing is that asset owners select factors and their weights themselves, rather than leaving this up to their asset managers.
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.
Factor investing – the investment strategy that aims to capture ‘hidden’ returns in financial markets – is rapidly gaining in popularity. However, it is important to follow the right factors, and to be wary of one factor counteracting another, to get the best results. Otherwise, investors might follow generic factor strategies that expose them to risks that are not properly rewarded, resulting in inferior performance.
Investors looking for value in global equities have been disappointed in recent years, as ‘expensive defensive’ and growth stocks have held sway in markets. But over the long term, value investing can be shown to outperform growth investing, depending on the economic environment of the time, says Robeco portfolio manager Maarten Polfliet.
There is strong evidence that momentum investing works, even though some critics claim that a stock’s past performance can’t be relied on to predict its future returns, and that momentum strategies can involve high turnover and the risk of a trend reversing.
In a recent webinar, Funds Europe spoke to Chris Hart, portfolio manager of the Robeco Boston Partners Global Premium Equities Fund, about how he seeks to tap into global opportunities from a value and growth perspective.
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.
To the best of our knowledge, no study has been conducted on the added value of innovative investment strategies that incorporate academic insights. As a result, we do not know how many investment managers have incorporated academic insights or how successful they are. We have researched the topic to fill this gap in the literature.
A paper* suggests scaling a conventional momentum strategy by its 6-month historical realized volatility in order to target a constant risk level. The authors find that this volatility scaling doubles the risk-adjusted performance of a momentum strategy, and significantly reduces drawdowns.
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.
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.
Behavioral explanations of momentum suggest that momentum can be caused by overreaction or underreaction. The latter, which turns out to be less risky and more sustainable, is exploited in Robeco’s quantitative models.
Investors are increasingly allocating strategically to factor premiums. But momentum has—so far—missed the party, thanks to its associated challenges. Willem Jellema looks at new ways to capture the momentum premium while eliminating the drawbacks.
In this video, Investment Solutions’ Tom Steenkamp discusses Robeco research showing that the traditional small-cap, value, low-volatility and momentum factors not only improve equity portfolio efficiency but also work for credit and commodity portfolios.
Residual Equity Momentum for Corporate Bonds
A short-term reversal strategy based on residual momentum reduces exposure to systematic factors and results in lower risk and better returns than a conventional momentum strategy.
Several studies report that abnormal returns associated with short-term reversal investment strategies diminish once transaction costs are taken into account.
Not only do the value and momentum effects exist in frontier markets, these effects are uncorrelated with each other and with similar strategies in developed and emerging markets.
A number of different quantitative investment strategies are applied to emerging markets. Value, momentum and earnings revisions strategies are found to be the most successful. This paper was later published in the Journal of Empirical Finance.