Alternative Investing

Understanding Style Premia

Topics - Alternative Investing Multi-Style

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Understanding Style Premia

Four investment “styles” — Value, Momentum, Carry and Defensive — have emerged as compelling sources of alternative returns, backed by economic theory and decades of data across geographies and asset groups. When applied as long/short strategies, these styles have delivered positive long-term returns across multiple asset groups and markets, with low correlations to other investments.

Equity and bond premia are often considered to be the most reliable sources of long-run investment returns, but investors may be relying on them too much. We believe that sustained investment success involves cost-effectively harvesting multiple, independent sources of returns, including long-only market premia (such as stocks and bonds) and alternative risk premia, including hedge-fund risk premia and style premia.

Evidence in favor of styles has existed in academia for some time, but styles have rarely been pursued in their purest form, as a multiasset, market-neutral, multistrategy investment. As a result, investors often view each style premium separately, failing to appreciate the potential diversification benefits of combining different styles. Just as multistrategy alternatives seek to benefit from diversification, so can multistyle alternatives.

In this paper, we discuss the intuition and evidence underlying investing styles and we describe a strategy to access these sources of returns in a liquid, market-neutral framework.

We believe that styles can provide what many investors seek: a source of returns that is largely independent of traditional risk factors, and still diversifying to classic alternative strategies. With the advent of market-neutral style daily-liquidity strategies, investors may have another tool for reaching their return objectives.

Published in

Journal of Investing

This document is not intended to, and does not relate specifically to any investment strategy or product that AQR offers. It is being provided merely to provide a framework to assist in the implementation of an investor’s own analysis and an investor’s own view on the topic discussed herein.

This document has been provided to you solely for information purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of an offer or any advice or recommendation to purchase any securities or other financial instruments and may not be construed as such. The factual information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author and AQR Capital Management, LLC (“AQR”) to be reliable but it is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to its accuracy and is not to be regarded as a representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness, nor should the attached information serve as the basis of any investment decision. This document is not to be reproduced or redistributed to any other person. The information set forth herein has been provided to you as secondary information and should not be the primary source for any investment or allocation decision. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses. 

This material is not research and should not be treated as research. This paper does not represent valuation judgments with respect to any financial instrument, issuer, security or sector that may be described or referenced herein and does not represent a formal or official view of AQR. The views expressed reflect the current views as of the date hereof and neither the author nor AQR undertakes to advise you of any changes in the views expressed herein. 

The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. Charts and graphs provided herein are for illustrative purposes only. The information in this presentation has been developed internally and/or obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, neither AQR nor the author guarantees the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of such information. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. There can be no assurance that an investment strategy will be successful. Historic market trends are not reliable indicators of actual future market behavior or future performance of any particular investment which may differ materially, and should not be relied upon as such. Diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses.

The information in this paper may contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events, targets, forecasts or expectations regarding the strategies described herein, and is only current as of the date indicated. There is no assurance that such events or targets will be achieved, and may be significantly different from that shown here. The information in this document, including statements concerning financial market trends, is based on current market conditions, which will fluctuate and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons.