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Journal Article

Investing in Interesting Times

Given 2022’s cheapening of asset valuations, some have questioned if we are still in a world of low expected returns. We review what’s changed after 2022, showing that the lower expected return picture has not been substantially altered for many asset classes. We provide some suggestions to potentially ameliorate the pain caused by this environment.

White Paper

Value: Why Now? Capturing the Comeback in Its Early Innings

Value has delivered attractive long-term returns but has also weathered difficult short-term periods. While these times are painful for investors, the subsequent recoveries are lucrative for those that stick with the factor. We summarize the evidence for why we believe long/short value continues to be an exceptional go-forward opportunity and how investors can adapt their portfolios accordingly.

Alternative Thinking

2023 Capital Market Assumptions for Major Asset Classes

We update our estimates of medium-term (5- to 10-year) expected returns for major asset classes. We also include two special topics: one highlighting the case for emerging market equities, and the other assessing the impact of large interest rate rises on various risk premia.

Perspective

Uncorrelated Assets: An Important Dimension of an Optimal Portfolio

Recently, Dimensional Fund Advisors wrote critically on “liquid alts.” They make some good points, but they also draw some odd conclusions that if applied more generally would not be to their or our liking. Besides discussing their piece, below I also review the general rationale behind holding uncorrelated assets – in particular, equity “factors” held in a long-short manner.

Perspective

Volatility Laundering

While not alone, I have become one of the chief gadflies of the private equity industry. But I’m a selective gadfly. The illiquidity and non-marking that comes with private investments used to be acknowledged as a bug. These days, however, this same bug is sold as a feature – and sometimes, as in a recent Institutional Investor op-ed, brazenly so. My response in II covers what I think are the increasingly harmful ramifications of taking as reality the unrealistically smoothed returns that private strategies are all-too-happy to report.

Perspective

The Bubble Has Not Popped

This post updates our value spread with data through the end of 2022. The fourth quarter of 2022 saw value recover from the bout of temporary insanity that gripped some portion of the market over the summer, but the spread ends 2022 very much still in rarified territory – at the 94th percentile, to be precise. More excitingly for 2023, value’s returns in 2022 were extremely strong, and the spread only moved from roughly the 100th percentile to the 94th, which makes us very optimistic about the prospects of continued normalization in 2023 and beyond.

Alternative Thinking

Should Your Portfolio Protection Work Fast or Slow?

2022’s drawdown provides a clear picture for the types of strategies that can actually deliver in a “slow burn” market downturn. While some options-based strategies have generated positive returns, in many cases they have disappointed. In contrast, trend following strategies have generally posted very strong returns. Looking ahead, many of the macro conditions that have been advantageous to trend following are still in place—and have historically tended to persist.

Data Set

Time Series Momentum: Factors, Monthly

We have updated and extended our data set for “Time Series Momentum" (Moskowitz, Ooi and Pedersen, 2012), in which we document an asset-pricing anomaly that is consistent across different asset classes and markets. We update the returns monthly.

Data Set

Commodities for the Long Run: Index Level Data, Monthly

We have updated the data set for the paper “Commodities for the Long Run”, in which we analyze a novel data set of commodity futures prices going back to 1877, allowing us to show that returns of commodity futures indices have, on average, been positive over the long run. We update the data monthly.

Journal Article

Fact, Fiction, and Factor Investing

Factor investing has been around for several decades, backed by an enormous body of literature, and yet it is still surrounded by much confusion and debate. We examine many of the claims about factor investing, referencing the academic literature and performing simple, yet powerful, analysis to address them.