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Perspective

Why Not 100% Equities

Recently, a new paper has been making a big splash in our small pond of academic/quant investing. By “new,” I just mean “recently written,” as much of it ain’t new. In this piece, I offer a concise (relative to my norm) rebuttal, as this is well-trod ground.

Perspective

Opining for the 10th Time

I just published my 10th op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. This one is on the movie “Dumb Money” and, more importantly, the broader implications of the meme stock craze for today’s society as a whole. I thought it would be fun to put all ten op-eds out together. Be forewarned – if you aren’t a U. Chicago free marketer, you may not like them all.

Journal Article

Fact, Fiction, and Factor Investing: Practical Applications

This piece distills the central concepts and practical takeaways of our Fact, Fiction, and Factor Investing article, which examined many claims about factor investing, referencing an extensive academic literature and performing simple, yet powerful, analysis to address those claims.

Journal Article

International Diversification—Still Not Crazy after All These Years

International diversification has hurt US-based investors for over 30 years, but the long-run case for it remains relevant. We show that both financial theory and common sense favor international diversification, buttressed by empirical supportive evidence. Additionally we show it would be dangerous to extrapolate the post-1990 outperformance of US equities.

Perspective

Holding Our Breadth

Regular readers probably noticed I’ve been talking a lot about value lately. While I’m all for shining the spotlight onto the value dislocation, my colleagues also continue to produce a great breadth of research worth adding to your non-value-reading-list. I preview some of my recent favorites. 

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.

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.

Perspective

Is Value Just an Interest Rate Bet?

It seems obvious to so many that interest rates drive the value trade. After all, growth stocks have much longer-dated cash flows than value stocks and thus should be a “longer duration” asset and move more with longer-term interest rates, right? This is taken as an axiomatic given in countless pundit and press observations. However, it’s not nearly that simple, and mostly it’s just not true.