What is driving the growth in low-volatility investing?

What is driving the growth in low-volatility investing?

18-10-2012 | インサイト

A long and successful track record, portfolios covering global, developed and emerging markets and a sophisticated quantitative investment process are propelling the take-up of Conservative Equities, says Arlette van Ditshuizen.

  • Arlette van Ditshuizen
    Arlette
    van Ditshuizen
    Director, Portfolio Manager

Q. The number of low-volatility options available has grown rapidly. Why invest in an enhanced low-volatility strategy, such as Robeco’s, instead of a generic alternative?

A. It is no wonder that the number of low-volatility options is growing. Investor interest is increasing and it is not too difficult for an asset manager to build a low-risk portfolio: just rank the universe based on volatility or some other statistical measure and select the top 20%.

Our ranking model, however, is much more sophisticated. We reduce risk by using a combination of variables and by including forward-looking measures based on a proprietary distress-risk model. Returns are enhanced by selecting low-volatility stocks which also have attractive valuation and sentiment characteristics.

If there are two stocks that are equally attractive in terms of low risk, we prefer the stock with the best valuation and sentiment. We like to say that no two low-risk stocks are created equal. One will likely have a better future return than the other—and that’s the stock we select for the portfolio.

最新の「インサイト」を読む
最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

Q. Are there any other advantages?

A. Enhanced low-volatility strategies, such as Robeco Conservative Equity, can overcome recognized pitfalls of low-volatility investing, such as exposure to unnecessary downside risk, high turnover in illiquid stocks and concentration risks. We have put a great deal of effort and research into our ranking model and portfolio construction tool. They are both based on years of experience in quantitative investing in general and low volatility investing in particular.

For example, we have learned over the years that taking a broad view of risk, which incorporates non-statistical measures such as distress risk, can enhance a low-volatility portfolio. We developed a proprietary distress risk model that takes into account how balance-sheet leverage might translate into future distress and which incorporates other forward-looking financial information about a company’s corporate structure. Our distress risk model improves overall performance by helping the portfolio to avoid tail risk and by reducing the severity and occurrence of drawdowns.

Q. How has the strategy grown over the years?

A. After we introduced the global portfolio in October 2006, it seemed natural to expand the Conservative strategy to other equity markets. In September 2007, we introduced the European portfolio and in February 2011, emerging markets. Investors should be aware that we are using the same proven model to select low-volatility stocks in each region. The same model factors are used in developed and emerging markets.

Q. What was behind the development of Emerging Conservative Equities?

A. When we launched Emerging Conservative Equities, we had already been running the developed markets strategy for about five years, and we were convinced of its ability to deliver market returns with less risk. We had also completed research that quantified the volatility effect in emerging markets and also showed that it was increasing over time.

The development of Emerging Conservative Equities was possible because of a unique combination of in-house experience in emerging markets equities, low volatility strategies and quant investing. We had, for example, been managing emerging markets quant portfolios since 2006. And Robeco’s fundamental Emerging Markets team had been investing in emerging markets since 1994 and using Robeco’s proprietary emerging-markets stock-selection model to generate ideas since 2001.

Q. How has performance been?

A. Since inception in February 2011, the Emerging Conservative Equities portfolio has generated an excellent track record with a 26% gross cumulative return versus 2% for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, as of month-end September 2012. The Robeco portfolio’s return was also achieved with a risk reduction of more than 30%. Assets under management have grown unbelievably fast and are now above EUR 500 million.

Q. Why do you think the Robeco strategies continue to gain client assets?

A. I think our clients are attracted by our good performance across different markets. Our long track record also puts us at the “top of mind” among prospective clients. There are a number of different options to choose from, including generic minimum-volatility strategies, but one reason clients choose Robeco is because our performance is so much better than that of the reference index. We are not oriented toward any benchmark, but we are always pleased for our clients when our strategies show excess performance versus standard indices.

But, of course, performance is just part of the story. Many of our pension-fund clients are also responding to the uncertainty of the economic recovery and looking to harvest the equity risk premium at a lower volatility and to stabilize coverage ratios. They find the capital preservation aspect of the Conservative Equity strategy particularly attractive.

Q. Are clients willing to pay a premium for Conservative Equities compared to a generic index?

A. Yes, our clients are willing to pay a little bit more for Robeco’s low-volatility strategy. This is due to our long-term commitment to low-volatility investing, our research in the area and the integration of risk management into our strategy.

Clients appreciate that there is no “black box” with Robeco’s Conservative Equity portfolios. We can explain every position. Unlike many generic strategies, we are not just ranking stocks based on risk. We do more and it provides a more robust outcome. I think that’s why clients prefer our approach in today´s uncertain markets.

Q. What have you learned running Robeco’s Conservative Equity portfolios?

A. We were one of the first to offer a low-volatility equities portfolio and, from this vantage point, we were among the first to prove that the volatility effect can produce a market rate of return with less risk in practice. This was our premise when we started Conservative Equity, and I have always believed in it. Nonetheless, it is gratifying to see the proof that it works in our successful live track records. For clients who invested with us prior to the financial crisis, it is clear that reducing risk and limiting losses can have a huge effect on long-term returns.

Arlette van Ditshuizen is the co-portfolio manager, with Pim van Vliet, of Robeco’s Conservative Equity portfolios. Together they manage more than EUR 3 billion in low-volatility equities. Van Ditshuizen, who joined Robeco in 1997, has been managing Robeco´s Conservative Equities portfolios since February 2007, when she joined the Quantitative Equity team.

The value of your investments may fluctuate. Results obtained in the past are no guarantee for the future.

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会