RAFI™ Strategies

RAFI strategies aim to generate excess returns versus the market benchmark through a systematic, contrarian rebalancing approach.



Approximately USD 143 billion track RAFI strategies
(as of 6/30/2022)


More than 200 ETFs, mutual funds, commingled funds, and managed accounts offer Research Affiliates methodologies


RAFI indices are trusted globally as the foundation of smart beta strategies

Delivering on the promise of smart beta

RAFI strategies aim to generate excess returns versus the market benchmark through a systematic, contrarian rebalancing approach. RAFI strategies are designed to be transparent, broadly diversified, high capacity, and low cost.

Before "smart beta" there was RAFI

In 2005, long before smart beta gained wide recognition, Research Affiliates introduced the RAFI Fundamental Index. As an established leader in smart beta with a 10-year track record, the Research Affiliates methodologies and RAFI indices are trusted globally as the underlying foundation for many smart beta strategies.

RAFI Strategies


RAFI Multi-Factor

A smart beta equity strategy that offers diversified factor exposures through allocations to value, low volatility, quality, momentum, and size.

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RAFI Multi-Factor
Climate Transition

RAFI Multi-Factor
Climate Transition

Strategies that offer diversified factor exposures and integrate objectives related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

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Fundamental Index

RAFI Fundamental

A non-price-weighted index strategy that aims to deliver excess return versus the cap-weighted benchmark by using fundamental measures of company size to systematically rebalance against the market’s constantly shifting expectations.

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Strategies that combine the pioneering Fundamental Index approach with thoughtfully designed environmental, social, and governance investment themes.

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RAFI Bonds

A strategy that weights a company’s debt according to fundamental measures of the firm’s debt service capacity—book value of assets, gross sales, gross dividends, and cash flow—rather than the amount of debt outstanding. The result is an index with lower credit risk, lower volatility, and better risk-adjusted returns.

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Low Volatility

RAFI Low Volatility

A strategy that efficiently efficiently reduces equity risk, while maintaining attractive valuations and broadly diversified market exposures.

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Related Content

Buy High and Sell Low with Index Funds!
By Rob Arnott, Vitali Kalesnik, Lillian Wu
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. The changes we suggest have the potential to boost index fund performance by about 15 basis points a year with just 25 basis points of tracking error. That’s a material benefit when fund managers compete based on fee differences as small as a single basis point!
Value in Recessions and Recoveries
By Vitali Kalesnik, Ari Polychronopoulos
Recessionary periods create risks and opportunities for value investors. 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. In recoveries, value (along with quality and size) has strongly outperformed the market as uncertainty around the crisis resolves. The first-quarter 2020 downturn was triggered by a severe shock to fundamentals and, consistent with experience, value underperformed. The bubble-like extreme valuation dispersion before the crisis only widened in the downturn to a record high. Should the bubble burst, the closing valuation gap would imply potential substantial gains for value investors. Winner of the Savvy Investor Awards 2020 for highly commended best factor investing paper.
Standing Alone Against the Crowd: Abandon Value? Now?!?
By Rob Arnott, Amie Ko, Jonathan Treussard

Since the 1957 launch of capitalization-weighted indices, critics of these indices have pointed out it makes no sense to put more money into a company just because the company is expensive—that is, all else equal, if a company’s valuation multiple doubles, the cap index’s exposure to that stock doubles. Yet for a half-century, academe has taught investors a finance theory orthodoxy anchored on the concept of efficient markets, which requires us to view the world of investments from a cap-weight-centric perspective.