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from-the-field-175x95px.jpgFROM THE FIELD: Robeco researchers publish many whitepapers based on their own empirical studies. But they also closely follow quantitative research done by others. Head of Quantitative Equities Research David Blitz comments on notable external papers.

From the field: Ranking better than optimizing?

03-06-2015 | David Blitz, PhD A paper* compares the performance of low-volatility portfolios constructed by using a ranking methodology versus portfolios constructed with mean/variance optimization. The idea behind ranking is to simply buy a basket of the lowest-volatility stocks, while optimization involves sophisticated algorithms and risk models.

The paper concludes that both approaches are equally effective in reducing portfolio volatility over a long-term investment horizon. When we investigated this issue, we found similar results, but also that ranking offers various advantages, such as increased transparency of the investment process. Based on this, we decided to adopt a ranking approach for our low-volatility Conservative Equities strategies.

* Soe (2012), “Low-volatility portfolio construction: ranking versus optimization”, Journal of Index Investing 3(3), 63-73

David Blitz

David Blitz, PhD

Head Quantitative Equities Research

“Factor investing, aimed at systematically capturing the value, momentum, low-volatility and other premiums, holds the future.”

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David Blitz, PhD
Head Quantitative Equities Research


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