Where Is the Global Economy Going?


Evidence shows that the yield-curve slope and equity returns provide signals of similar direction in the economy, allowing investors to nowcast with relative confidence. Today, those signals indicate that several developed markets—in particular, Japan, Germany, and the United States—are ominously close to entering a correction phase.

Advisor Series: Part 8
Rebalance or Rush Hour? Regularly rebalancing a portfolio to its target asset mix is necessary to maintain desired risk exposure over the portfolio’s lifetime. But getting investors to do it is another matter entirely—many would rather sit in rush-hour traffic! A systematic rebalancing approach can be effective in keeping investors on the road of timely rebalancing, headed toward their destination of achieving their financial goals and improving long-term risk-adjusted returns.
TDF Hero
Are Our TDFs Massively Underweight Inflation-Fighting Assets? Allocations to inflation-fighting assets in target-date funds are simply too low in relation to the benefit these asset classes offer investors who are planning for retirement.
Cam Harvey AS banner
Advisor Series: Part 7
Is Your Alpha Big Enough to Cover Its Taxes? A Quarter-Century Retrospective Investors and their advisors must be alert to managing both pre-tax and after-tax alpha in order for investors to realize the highest possible return from their taxable portfolios. Increasingly, the opportunities to accomplish both goals are within reach of investors through, for example, tax-advantaged smart beta strategies and tax-efficient vehicles such as ETFs.
Pundits Predicting Panic in Emerging Markets A rational analysis of the emerging markets affirms our belief that now is the time to buy, not sell. The panic being peddled by pundits today is simply not justified.
Buy High and Sell Low with Index Funds! Traditional index funds match market performance and have negligible trading costs with low tracking error—or do they? Not actually—they routinely buy after high price appreciation and sell after high price depreciation. They also have significant trading costs from adding and deleting stocks. We show how index providers can construct better-performing indices that are less prone to performance chasing and have lower turnover.
Food for Thought: Integrating vs. Mixing Although a naïve comparison appears to favor the integrating approach to multi-factor strategy construction, after taking into account both quantitative and qualitative considerations, many investors—those seeking transparency, diversification, minimal governance oversight, and low fees—may find mixing is a more sensible choice.
Yes. It's a Bubble. So What? The relentless rise in the US stock market since its low in 2009 has been dramatic. US stock market valuations now exceed all historical valuation levels, except for those hit at the peak of the dot-com craze. This raises an obvious question for investors: Today, in early 2018, and has been the case over the last year, is the US stock market in another bubble? Yes. The more important question then becomes: How should investors react?
Unlocking the Performance Potential in ESG Investing By combining a tilt toward companies that display financial discipline and that embrace corporate diversity with the return engine of a fundamentally weighted portfolio, we believe investors in environmental, social, and governance (ESG)–related strategies have the opportunity to earn superior long-term risk-adjusted returns.
CAPE Fear: Why CAPE Naysayers Are Wrong Beware the consequences of assuming that elevated CAPE ratios are here to stay, but if they are the “new normal,” low future returns are likely to be the “new normal” as well.
Rob Arnott on Bloomberg TV (January 11, 2018)
[Part 6] Performance Measurement: How to Do It If We Must Assessing our portfolios’ performance is a necessary activity, but by being aware that measurement over shorter time horizons is dominated by noise, we can better resist the natural human instinct to “do something”
[Part 5] Craftsmanship in Smart Beta While somewhat at odds with today’s big-data, warp-speed approach to life and work, thoughtful craftsmanship—the product design and implementation elements that are tangible, measurable, and impactful—can create positive, persistent results in portfolio performance.
[Part 4] Is Manager Selection Worth the Effort for Financial Advisors? The most commonly marketed service by financial advisors is manager selection. We look at the evidence to see if the resources financial advisors are allocating to this endeavor add value to their clients’ and their own bottom lines.
When Value Goes Global When the value trade goes global, investors are poised to benefit. Evidence from the international equity, bond, currency, and commodity markets indicates that the value premium is a global phenomenon that can offer important portfolio diversification.
The Bubble That Never Came (and Other Misconceptions about Treasury Bonds) A 10-year US Treasury note yielding just little above 2% does feel expensive. Yet we should not be misled by appearances. Our research shows that, contrary to common wisdom, Treasury bonds are only moderately overvalued. All in all, bonds are not as unattractive as a simple historical comparison of their yields may suggest.
Pricing Stocks and Bonds A look at a simple, robust framework for estimating long-term asset-class forecasts, and its underlying assumptions, offers insights as to how asset managers can build a portfolio to meet investors’ future financial needs.
Is Your Alpha Big Enough to Cover Its Taxes? A Quarter-Century Retrospective Recognizing that the management of taxable portfolios has advanced in the past 25 years, the authors of the present paper update a seminal 1993 study in which Robert H. Jeffrey and Robert D. Arnott introduced the concept of a normally negative “tax alpha” and formulated tactics to reduce its detrimental impact on investment results.
Smart Beta Multifactor Construction Methodology: Mixing versus Integrating All of the well-established factors to which investors gain exposure in low-cost smart beta funds are expected to deliver a premium in the long run, but none is guaranteed to outperform at all times. Seeking diversification, many investors have turned to strategies that exploit multiple factors. Published in the Journal of Index Investing.
Winner of the 2018 Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award for Best Article: King of the Mountain: The Shiller P/E and Macroeconomic Conditions Valuation, always an effective tool for long-term investors, can also be useful for assessing short-term market prospects. The authors demonstrate that conditioning CAPE on current inflation and real yields substantially improves its accuracy in forecasting returns for periods from one month to one year.
Hobbled by Benchmarks Many investment organizations benchmark their funds’ performance against the classic 60/40 mix of domestic stocks and bonds, but this posture limits their ability to earn superior risk-adjusted returns. The authors argue that investors can fully realize the well-established benefits of asset-class diversification only if they are seriously willing to revisit their policy portfolios, investment guidelines, and benchmarks.
Will Your Factor Deliver? An Examination of Factor Robustness and Implementation Costs Not every factor profits investors when implemented through a passive strategy. Size and quality show weak robustness, and liquidity-demanding factors, such as illiquidity and momentum, are associated with high trading costs. Investors may be better off accessing these factors through active management rather than indexation. Published in the Financial Analysts Journal by Jason Hsu, Vitali Kalesnik, Noah Beck, and Helge Kostka.
Winner of the 2015 William F. Sharpe Award for ETF/Indexing Paper of the Year: "A Framework for Assessing Factors and Implementing Smart Beta Strategies" Investors might apply advanced techniques of quantitative analysis to discriminate between genuine premium-bearing factors and the spurious products of data-mining—but here’s a three-step heuristic. Published in the Journal of Index Investing by Jason Hsu, Vitali Kalesnik, and Vivek Viswanathan.
Winner of the 2015 Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award for Outstanding Article: "A Study of Low-Volatility Portfolio Construction Methods" Long-term simulations in U.S., global developed, and emerging markets confirm that low-volatility strategies can potentially access risk-diversifying sources of excess return. However, portfolio construction methods should be sensitive to investibility and valuations. Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Jason Hsu, Tzee Chow, Feifei Li, and Li-Lan Kuo.
Winner of the 2012 William F. Sharpe Indexing Achievement Award for Institutional Investor Journals Paper of the Year: "Rebalancing and the Value Effect" Value stocks typically enjoy higher dividends than growth stocks. Growth stocks, on the other hand, typically enjoy faster dividend growth. What most investors miss is that a portfolio of value stocks generates faster growth in dividends than a portfolio of growth stocks. Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Rob Arnott and Denis Chaves.
Asset Allocation Interactive Navigate long-term forecasts for over 130 assets and model portfolios
Smart Beta Interactive Explore expected returns and valuations for smart beta and factor strategies
RAFI Strategies
RAFI™ Strategies RAFI strategies aim to generate excess returns versus the market benchmark through a systematic, contrarian rebalancing approach.
All Asset
All Asset All Asset strategies are global tactical asset allocation (GTAA) solutions that aim to deliver real returns, diversification, and inflation protection via tactical long-only exposures.
RAE RAE systematic active equity strategies seek to generate superior risk-adjusted returns.
Systematic Alternative Risk Premia
Systematic Alternative Risk Premia The Systematic Alternative Risk Premia strategy aims to deliver uncorrelated absolute returns through leveraged long–short exposures to liquid derivatives contracts.
RA Speaking Engagements
Rob Arnott: Inside ETFs Europe (London) October 2, 2018
In the News
Chris Brightman on Bloomberg TV April 13, 2018