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Quant investing is becoming more widely accepted. But such developments are always accompanied by growing pains. We talked to Pim van Vliet, head of Conservative Equities, about the opportunities and pitfalls and why culture and philosophy are so important.
Download the second edition of Robeco Quarterly, our 40-page magazine for professional investors, focusing on quant investing, sustainability investing and research. Also in this edition: a long-read on liquid alternatives, a summary of Robeco’s 2017 outlook and an interview with Mark Glazener on the risks of aggressive tax policies.
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.
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.
Investors increasingly decide to allocate strategically to factor premiums such as Value, Momentum and Low-Volatility. Robeco is now incorporating a fourth factor, Quality, in the investment process of its factor funds.
Investors are still awaiting the first rate hike by the Federal Reserve since June 2006. According to Bloomberg, since the last Fed statement, at the end of October, the odds for a December rate hike have risen from 37% to 48%.
Trading is necessary to follow an active strategy, but excessive trading is linked to human behavior. In his new paper just published on SSRN Pim van Vliet looked into why investors trade and how much trading is needed for an effective low-volatility strategy.
Europe has seen a modest pick-up in economic growth in the first quarter, with unexpectedly strong figures coming in from France and Italy. But the region still faces an environment characterized by low interest rates with low expected economic growth and low inflation. This environment resembles the scenario Japan faced in the 1990s. What are the lessons for investors in low-volatility European stocks?
Robeco is committed to sustainable investing. All Robeco Quantitative Equity strategies already integrated ESG factors (Environment, Social and Governance), and since December 2014, we have taken this one step further.
Usually focusing on how to design the best low-volatility strategy, David Blitz, Matthias Hanauer and Pim van Vliet have set out to construct a very bad low-volatility strategy. Comparing good and bad low-volatility strategies they found very different performance characteristics. Clearly, not all low-volatility stocks are created equal. The results highlight the importance of being selective when investing in low-volatility stocks.
The second edition of the first and only book to focus on the volatility effect, "Low-Volatility Investing" by David Blitz, PhD, Head Robeco Quantitative Equity Research and Pim van Vliet, PhD, Senior Portfolio Manager, Robeco Conservative Equities, presents our research on low-volatility investing from a number of different angels important to investors.
Low-volatility stocks are known to lag in rising markets and lose less in falling markets. On average this is true, but is it always the case? Examining the historical evidence we find that unlikely scenarios – both positive and negative - do occur once in a while. Low-volatility investors should therefore not only focus on averages, but consider a broader range of possible outcomes.
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.
Low-volatility investing is becoming more popular. Many professional investors currently explicitly allocate a significant portion of their portfolio to low-volatility stocks. Robeco uses an enhanced approach to increase returns and reduce risk.
Low-volatility stocks are in high demand. According to Pim van Vliet, portfolio manager of Conservative Equities, a generic low-volatility strategy is getting more expensive. An enhanced approach is necessary to prevent buying too expensive stocks.
Risk and return do not always go hand in hand. But why? Watch Pim van Vliet, Portfolio Manager Conservative Equities.
Robeco’s Conservative Equities strategies aim for equity returns with lower downside risk. Get to know our approach in just ten steps. Pim van Vliet, Portfolio Manager Conservative Equities, explains the advantages of low-volatility investing and how it fits into your portfolio.
Robeco’s David Blitz, Pim van Vliet and author Eric Falkenstein publish their paper ‘Explanations for the Volatility Effect: An Overview Based on the CAPM Assumptions’.
Emerging markets have become increasingly important to equity investors due to their fast growing economies. But what is the relationship between risk and return in these markets? Answer: it is flat or even negative. Empirical results show that the volatility effect - long-term equity returns at distinctly lower downside risk - is significant, robust and distinct.
Do you know why it makes sense to invest in an enhanced low-volatility strategy rather than a generic alternative? That is just one question answered by Pim van Vliet, Senior Portfolio Manager of Robeco Conservative Equities, in a new FAQ on low-volatility investing.
An enhanced low-volatility strategy, which also provides exposure to valuation and sentiment factors, can improve returns by up to 6% a year.
We are pleased to present you with this collection of 13 articles on low-volatility investing. The articles included here share two things in common: they all dig into the low-volatility anomaly and they are all written by Robeco researchers.
The volatility effect is present in US stock returns in every decade from 1931-2009. During these decades, low-volatility stocks produced a positive absolute return, with lower risk than the market-capitalization-weighted index.
What is the best way to measure the performance of a strategy focused on risk-adjusted return? David Blitz and Pim van Vliet answer this question in their article, Benchmarking Low-Volatility Strategies, published in the Journal of Index Investing.
A rare application of a low-volatility strategy in emerging markets, Robeco Emerging Conservative Equities was launched in February 2011. Pim van Vliet, Senior Portfolio Manager, Low-Volatility Equities, explains the new strategy, the research underpinning it and how it fits into an institutional portfolio.
A decentralized professional investment process can lead to inefficient portfolios. Low-risk equities are undervalued because active managers have a dual incentive to buy high-risk stocks.
Low-risk stocks lead to higher risk adjusted returns. Portfolio manager Pim van Vliet reveals why and how investors can benefit.
Pension funds can protect funding ratios by making low-risk stocks a part of their equity allocation, says Pim van Vliet, Senior Portfolio Manager, Robeco Low Volatility Equities.
Low-volatility investing is gaining momentum among institutional investors, Pim van Vliet, Senior Portfolio Manager, Robeco Low Volatility Equities, summarizes the strategy’s key points.
Efficient markets theory has been challenged by the finding that relatively simple investment strategies are found to generate statistically significantly higher returns than the market portfolio.
Efficient markets theory has been challenged by the finding that relatively simple investment strategies are found to generate statistically significantly higher returns than the market portfolio. Well-known examples are the value, size and momentum strategies, for which return premiums have been documented in US and international stock markets. Market efficiency is also challenged, however, if some simple investment strategy generates a return similar to that of the market, but at a systematically lower level of risk.
The last decades have witnessed some major developments in the field of asset pricing. These have contributed to a better understanding of stock, bond and other asset prices and have influenced other disciplines such as corporate finance and macro economics.