Advisory Panel

The Research Affiliates' annual Advisory Panel conference brings together researchers to delve into economic and investment issues relevant to investors. The forum is intended to stimulate broad insights and lively debate. We highlight here summaries of the most recent Advisory Panels.

In Defense of Alpha?!

By Jason Hsu

October 2017 | Read Time: 10 min

Although many categorize Research Affiliates as a predominately quasi-index passive shop, attendees at Research Affiliates' recent 2017 Advisory Panel may have been quite surprised with the defense of active-management alpha as an emerging theme. The challenge appears to be in accessing manager skill in a productive way.


Of Clustering, Cyclicality, and Crisis
Advisory Panel 2016

Open and inquiring minds met again this year for the 2016 Advisory Panel. In late March, attendees participated in discussions that covered a broad array of investor concerns—from what performance can really tell us about manager skill to the seemingly illogical wisdom of picking losers, from capturing a large set of anomalies in two “mispricing” factors to the limits of a neoclassical economic model in forecasting a systemic liquidity crisis. Participants also explored the looming economic crisis of underfunded pensions as well as the implications of defining inequality in consumption terms rather than in wealth terms. Rob Arnott concluded the Advisory Panel by introducing Research Affiliates’ recent research on how rising valuations in smart beta are largely responsible for the “alpha” these strategies have earned, with value strategies an exception to the rule. The bottom line is valuation matters.

Factors in the Real World
Advisory Panel 2015

The 2015 Advisory Panel; which included the two Nobel laureates Harry Markowitz and Vernon Smith, welcomed speakers who discussed vetting return factors, implementing factor-based strategies in the absence of factor markets (as investors can only trade in assets), evaluating global and emerging market risks, and using the Shiller P/E in estimating expeced returns.

The Whole Story: Factors + Asset Classes

By Jason Hsu

June 2015 | Read time: 10 min

Some of the investment industry’s best thinkers discussed their work at a Research Affiliates meeting. Jason Hsu’s report emphasizes that factor-based investing is incomplete unless it’s paired with an asset-based approach.

Critical Thinkers at Work
Advisory Panel 2014

The 2014 Advisory Panel had no stated theme, allowing speakers to address the topics they found most interesting. The result was an extraordinary conference on issues ranging from public perceptions of the investment industry to equity price changes in the days before a Federal Reserve announcement.

What We Know That Ain't So

Every year a small group of leading thinkers in the industry join us at our Advisory Panel meeting to explain their works and debate various subjects. This year's AP reminded us that not only is there much that we don’t know, but also that some of what we know isn't true.

Pricing Fine Wines and Common Stocks

Historical prices reveal that the emotional return from investing in wine is quantifiable, but a study of the equity investment ecosystem rejects the premise that final investors set stock prices. What do these findings mean for behavioral finance?

Hard Times Ahead
Advisory Panel 2013

The 2013 Advisory Panel was organized around two big quality-of-life themes: 1) the implications of government intervention in the economy and the capital markets, specifically including federal housing and monetary policies, and 2) the potential need to ration future retirement benefits.

The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement

By Jason Hsu

June 2013 | Read Time: 10 min

​Boomers will pay the price of government housing policies—a poorer quality of life in retirement—according to Research Affiliates' 2013 Advisory Panel.