Sign up for our latest insights

New Research Insights

Learn more about the latest findings from the Research Affiliates' research team and how we are incorporating these insights into our strategies.

Book Value Is an Incomplete Measure of Firm Size

Adding intangible assets to book value provides a more robust measure of firm capital. But, just as a home buyer considers a host of variables when evaluating the price of a new house, we prefer to use multiple metrics, not book value alone, to get the most complete picture possible of a firm’s valuation.

WEBINAR

Q&A with CIO Chris Brightman

Chris Brightman, Research Affiliates' CIO, answers your questions on the impact of the pandemic, politics, and policy in global capital markets. Jim Masturzo, Head of Asset Allocation, joins Chris as the moderator.

Is ESG a Factor?

Applying the definition of factor robustness established by our Research Affiliates colleagues in their 2016 award-winning paper, we determine that ESG is not a factor. Nevertheless, the importance of ESG as an investing strategy is undeniable. We explore how greater clarity around defining ESG can quicken the pace of ESG integration in equity portfolios.

VIDEO

RAFI ESG Index Series

The RAFI️ ESG Index series satisfies the dual objectives of sustainability and the potential for outperformance. Ari Polychronopoulos, CFA, a partner of the firm, explains how innovative portfolio construction and supplementing traditional ESG metrics with diversity and financial discipline metrics sets the index series apart from other ESG indices.

Value in Recessions and Recoveries

Historically, value outperforms the market during downturns that follow the bursting of a bubble and does relatively worse versus the market in downturns caused by a shock to fundamentals. The first-quarter 2020 downturn was triggered by a severe shock to fundamentals. The bubble-like extreme valuation dispersion before the crisis widened in the downturn to a record high. Should the bubble burst, the closing valuation gap would imply potential substantial gains for value investors.

Reports of Value's Death May Be Greatly Exaggerated (Updated)

Value investing has underperformed growth investing for the last 13.5 years. The drawdown is the longest and deepest since 1963 and is explained by value becoming unusually cheap relative to growth. As of June 30, 2020, the relative valuation of the HML value factor fell to the 100th percentile of the historical distribution. With this article, the authors update an earlier version through June 30, 2020.

"What Is Quality?" wins Graham and Dodd Award

Congratulations to Vitali Kalesnik and Jason Hsu, with co-author Engin Kose, for winning the prestigious Graham and Dodd Award. Read the article and watch CFA Institute's graphic abstract.

Insights from Senior Leadership

Too Soon? Pandemic Policy Response Raises Risk of Inflation

The Fed’s $5 trillion bazooka, helicopter drops of cash, and a tripling of deficits over the next two years imply a future bout of high and volatile inflation unless fiscal policy nimbly pivots to help prevent the toxic side effect of a spike in inflation. Is that expectation realistic?

The COVID-19 Crash and the Abandonment of the Pensioner

The COVID-induced crash—notably the crash in interest rates—has boosted the (marked-to-market) unfunded pension obligation for most pension funds by roughly 20% in a single quarter. If we are unable to remedy this problem in relatively short order, how will we close an underfunding gap that has been growing for a generation? By not addressing this shortfall, we are abandoning our pensioners and reneging on the pension promise made by the ERISA legislation passed in 1974.

Leading in Uncertain Times

Leadership is about establishing direction while also improving, aligning, and motivating the team. In good times, these goals are challenging enough, but in times of uncertainty, where we find ourselves now, it demands flexibility, curiosity about alternative routes, and willingness to solicit input from the diverse perspectives of the team.

What a Difference an ESG Ratings Provider Makes!

The need for ESG ratings to help investors construct portfolios in line with their ESG preferences is acute. Unfortunately, both quality and consistency of ratings can hamper the process. We compare the ratings of two well-known ESG ratings providers to highlight why investors need to have a solid understanding of their provider’s methodology.

Featured Journal Papers

Transaction Costs of Factor-Investing Strategies

Although hidden, the implicit market impact costs of factor investing may substantially erode a strategy’s expected excess returns. The rebalancing data of a suite of large and long-standing factor-investing indexes are used in this study to model these market impact costs.

 

Published in the Financial Analysts Journal by Feifei Li, Tzee Chow, Alex Pickard, and Yadwinder Garg.

Winner of the 2020 Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award for Outstanding Article

Alice’s Adventures in Factorland: Three Blunders That Plague Factor Investing

Factor investing has failed to live up to its many promises. Its success is compromised by three problems that are often underappreciated by investors.

 

Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Rob Arnott, Vitali Kalesnik, Campbell Harvey, and Juhani Linnainmaa.

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.

 

Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Rob Arnott, Vitali Kalesnik, and Trevor Schuesler.

Winner of the 2016 Graham & Dodd Scroll Award Of Excellence Paper

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. 

 

Published in the Financial Analysts Journal by Jason Hsu, Vitali Kalesnik, Noah Beck, and Helge Kostka.

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.

 

Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Rob Arnott, Omid Shakernia, Jonathan Treussard, and Michael Aked.

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.

 

Published in the Journal of Portfolio Management by Rob Arnott, Tzee Chow, and Denis Chaves.

Interactive Tools

ASSET ALLOCATION

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.

In the News

Value Stocks May Have Done a Lot Better Than You Think

November 7, 2020

 

Bloomberg: Emissions Data Isn't Good Enough for Investors, Quant Study Shows

November 3, 2020

 

Bloomberg Video: What'd You Miss?

October 20, 2020

 

Meb Faber Research: Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

October 19, 2020

 

Yahoo Finance: Investors Should be Worried About Inflation Expectations Becoming Untethered, Stocks and Bonds Crashing

October 12, 2020

 

TD Ameritrade: Jim Masturzo Explains the Impact of No Additional Stimulus to Economy

October 6, 2020

 

Beyond Beta Europe Digital: Mega-Cap Companies Distort Factor Performance This Year

October 2, 2020

 

Rob Arnott Weighs In On the Impact of Fiscal and Monetary Policy On the Economy

August 19, 2020

 

Fortune: What's Driving the New Gold Rush?

August 15, 2020

 

Real Vision Television: The S&P 500 Index Is a Growth-Tilted, Momentum-Chasing, Active Strategy

July 31, 2020

 

Bloomberg Podcast: Rob Arnott on Bubbles

July 24, 2020

 

Be Careful When Declaring an Asset Class Is Dead. It Might Just Come Roaring Back.

June 26, 2020

 

Money Life Podcast: The Big Interview with Jonathan Treussard

June 22, 2020

 

Podcast: The Exceptional Post-Crisis Investment Opportunities

April 16, 2020

 

Why the Stock Market Hasn't Even Gotten Cheap Yet

April 15, 2020

 

Meb Faber Research: Be Aware of the Cracks Under Your Feet

April 8, 2020

 

Bloomberg Video: Huge Opportunity Seen in Value Stocks: Research Affiliates CIO

April 1, 2020

 

Barron's: 100 Women Leading the U.S. Finance Industry Confidently Into the Future

March 9, 2020

 

Money Life with Chuck Jaffe: Wall Street Giant Rob Arnott

December 17, 2019

 

The Felder Report: Podcast: Rob Arnott on Engineering a Better Index

December 4, 2019

 

Morningstar: Rob Arnott - Podcast on Morningstar's "The Long View"

August 21, 2019