Browsing: Financial Economics Theory

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Financial Economics Theory

The Low Volatility Anomaly: Gunpowder Inc.

Feb 26th, 2017 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

In a new paper David Blitz, the head of quantitative strategies for Robeco Asset Management, crunches numbers and reaches a surprising conclusion, precisely contrary to an intuitively appealing theory about the low volatility anomaly.  But … let’s begin from the beginning. Standard financial economic theory holds that investors are compensatedRead More


Why Do Alpha Seekers Find It In the Small Caps?

Feb 21st, 2017 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

The median performance of active fund managers with a small-cap mandate is uniformly better than the performance of their colleagues with a large cap mandate against their respective benchmarks. Fewer than 40% of large-cap managers outperform U.S. large-cap equity. More than 60% of their small-cap counterparts do so. The patternRead More


Earnings Releases & Social Media: Listening to the Crowd

Feb 16th, 2017 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

Earnings releases, and the “seasons” made up out of them, have become almost a comforting ritual in the investment world. The days leading up to a company’s release often incites a good deal of more or less well-informed guesswork. That guesswork may become significantly more informed through crowdsourcing. That isRead More


Active Share: Empirical and Conceptual Issues

Jan 17th, 2017 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

In 2009, Martijn Cremers, of the University of Notre Dame, and Antti Petajisto of New York University, introduced a new portfolio measurement they called Active Share, measuring in percentage terms the deviation of a portfolio from its benchmark (deviation in holdings, not in performance). Thus, a portfolio with 100% activeRead More


Funds of Funds and the Task of Financial Intermediation

Jan 12th, 2017 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, Private Investments, Venture capital

Are funds of funds a valuable form of intermediation? Robert Harris, of the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, and three other distinguished scholars looked at this question in a Darden Business School Working Paper, and they decided that, at least with regard specifically to the role of FOFsRead More


Rudin and Marr: A Reformulation of RP Methods of Portfolio Construction

Nov 24th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Newly Added

A recent article by Alexander Rudin and William M. Marr, in The Journal of Alternative Investments, seeks to change the terms of discussion of the risk parity method of portfolio construction in a way that might remove some of the counter-intuitive consequences that can dog the approach. The paper, “InvestorRead More


Risk-Adjusted Time Series Momentum Strategies

Aug 21st, 2016 | Filed under: Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Hedge Funds, Macro and Managed Futures Funds, Newly Added

The name is awkwardly long, and the standard abbreviation, “RAMOM,” sounds like what one says when cheering on one’s mother as she nears a finish line. Still, risk adjusted time series momentum strategies have something to be said for them, in comparison to cross-sectional momentum (MOM without preface), or evenRead More


New Support for a 40-Year-Old Theory about IPOs

Aug 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

It is always aesthetically pleasing to see something elegant brought down from an attic, dusted off, and found to be of continuing value as part of the home’s furniture. Back in 1977, Edward Miller offered a hypothesis about the price move patterns distinctive to newly listed stocks.  In “Risk, Uncertainty,Read More


Stocks after Shocks: Equity Returns in the Face of Monetary Policy

Jul 31st, 2016 | Filed under: Economics, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

A new paper by two economists affiliated with the Federal Reserve System presents a new measure of the monetary policy exposure of individual stocks. The simplest approach to this task would be to regress individual stock returns around major central bank moves (“shocks”). But that turns out not to beRead More


Infrastructure: Look at the Contracts–Not the Industry or the Index

Jul 10th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Infrastructure, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

A new paper from EDHEC Infrastructure Institute decides that there is no such thing as a listed infrastructure asset class. What is the practical significance of that inference?  It means that for investors (individual or institutional) looking to diversify their portfolio properly, a dedicated index focused on a listed infrastructureRead More


Lyxor Quants Ask: What Exactly is a ‘Risk Factor’ Anyway?

Jul 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

Given the growing body of scholarly work over “risk factor” investing, especially the growing number of risks cited as factors, one has to wonder: what exactly is a “factor”?  In terms that admirers of Rodgers and Hammerstein will remember: is a feature of an investment a risk factor because it’sRead More


A Review of the Commodity Index/Global Hunger Controversy

May 24th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Commodities, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

The consensus in market scholarship seems to be not only that “still waters run deep” but that deep waters run still. The greater the depth of volume in a commodity, the lesser the volatility of that commodity’s price. (This of course requires the usual “other things being equal” caveat.) ThisRead More


Trust Isn’t Just a Nice Warm Feeling

May 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

Ross Levine, professor of finance at the University of California, Berkeley, and two scholars from Hong Kong (Professors Chen Lin and Wensi Xie) have published a study of corporate resilience in the face of a banking crisis. Their paper addresses a problem inherent in the relationship between Wall Street andRead More


The Value of a Proxy Access Mandate: Part Two

Apr 19th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the issue of the value of a proxy access mandate. In the first part we looked specifically at a study the CFA Institute made public two years ago, one that has of late received renewed attention. It relied upon four scholarlyRead More


The Value of a Proxy Access Mandate: Part One

Apr 17th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

This begins a two-part discussion of the issue of the value of a proxy access mandate. The question is an important one. It is prima facie wrong to create any new rule (whether it’s a corporate bylaw, a regulatory edict, an act of a legislature or anything else) unless thereRead More


Smart Beta Strategy: Aces Australian Scrutiny

Jan 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Alternative Beta & Hedge Fund Replication, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta

Paul Docherty, a senior lecturer at Newcastle Business School. University of Newcastle, in Australia, has studied the performance of the factors that underlie smart beta portfolios within the equity markets of that country. On the basis of a long time-series of data, Docherty has concluded that four such factors “allRead More


Arbitrage Pricing Theory and Large Pricing Errors

Dec 13th, 2015 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Hedge Fund Operations and Risk Management, Newly Added, Portable Alpha & Alpha/Beta Separation, Risk Management & Operations, Risk Management Strategies & Processes

Uppal and Zaffaroni use Arbitrage Pricing Theory as a meta-model: a model that can be employed to check the errors in the specification of first-order models that in turn are used to value assets.Read More


India: The Way Up and the Way Down Are Not the Same

Nov 26th, 2015 | Filed under: Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Risk Management & Operations, Risk Management Strategies & Processes, SRI and Clean Energy, The Global Economy & Currencies

Faille doesn't mean to argue theology, but he has to observe that a Shariah-based understanding of what constitutes “ethical investing” entails a lot of premises, and if those premises are to be inserted into reasoning about financial economics, they have to bear up to empirical, secular scrutiny. Read More


Time-series Momentum: Venerability, Vulnerability and Scholarship

Oct 7th, 2015 | Filed under: Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory

Baltas and Kosowski begin a recent paper with the observation that time-series momentum strategies have compiled an unsatisfactory record in the years since the global financial crisis. They ask why, and suggest how the strategies can be re-jiggered to improve performance. Read More


A Fresh Look at Bubbles: Revising Assumptions

Sep 16th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Derivatives

If it is possible for bubbles to arise in frictionless circumstances, then it follows that any theory that treats bubbles as the consequence of friction is, at very best, incomplete. And that is important to know especially if policy makers are busy drawing their own conclusions from those incomplete-or-worse theories. Read More


Supreme Court Decisions: Post-Announcement Hours & Days

Sep 10th, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Hedge Fund Strategies, Legislation/Court rulings

Presumably the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, in December 2008, that states can in fact make and enforce tougher labeling standards for cigarettes than does the federal government was a negative for tobacco stocks. But did that mean that stock prices had already anticipated the decision before it happened? or that they immediately adjusted downward on the morning the decision was announced? Or ... neither of those? Read More


Billion Dollar Claim from Black Swan Fund: Not from Taleb

Sep 7th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Performance, Analytics & Metrics

As regular readers of this blog may recall, I have found much to admire in the writings of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. So I am happy that he had decided to put some distance between himself and a recent claim that Universa made $1 billion when bad news from China shook the world's markets in late August. Read More


Cause and Effect: Or, Shooting the Messenger

Aug 27th, 2015 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Media Coverage of Hedge Funds

Not even Schrodinger blamed the reporters for market irrationality. Saying out loud, "Hey, this cat is dead," doesn't kill the cat. Read More


Crisis? Tempted to Flee to Shelter of Big Funds? Bad Idea

Jul 29th, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Strategies, Behavioral finance, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Strategies, Institutional Investing

The authors of a new study of the relationship between fund size and performance employ a database consisting of 7,261 funds and their performance over a twenty year period (1994 to 2014). Spoiler alert: size is bad. Especially in a crisis.Read More


A New Look at Last Year’s Conference Board White Paper on Governance

Jul 27th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory

Last year the Conference Board asked itself several questions germane to corporate governance. They were good questions. The odd thing about the report was the way the greybeards involved simply threw up their hands rather than trying to answer any of them. Read More


European Investor Satisfaction with Smart Beta ETFs

Jun 28th, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory, ETFs, Liquid Alts, Risk management, Smart Beta

Two authors at EDHEC remind us that 15% of the assets in any ETF or ETF-like products for European investors were in smart-beta indexed products as of August 2014, and that this amount is growing. They discuss the extent to which investors are pleased with their results. Read More


Lies, Damned Lies and Alpha

May 21st, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory

Guest columnist Andrew Beer looks at alpha.Read More


Study: Corporate/Government Cronyism Does Create Alpha

May 3rd, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Indexes

A new report finds that firms where current public officials are destined to become employees outperform other private firms by 7.43% per year during the three years before the officials/employees pass from one post to the other. The outperformance is highest in the year immediately before the switch, Justas a cynic looking for corrupt quid pro quos would suspect. Read More


They Do It Right Down Under: Australian Institutional Funds

Apr 14th, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory, ETFs, Indexes, Institutional Investing

The hapless U.S. mutual funds Chen and Gallagher sample have a nominally positive pre fee alpha only when measured against CAPM. That disappears into the negatives when the baseline used is the Fama-French model, and deeper into the negatives when the momentum factor is added. Read More


EDHEC: Smart Beta Indexes May Be On a Launch Pad

Apr 6th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, ETFs, Risk management

There have been "a considerable number of product launches in the area of smart beta ETFs," but investors are eager for more, perhaps in the hope the developers will get beyond the "few popular strategies" in that area on which they have so far focused. With more variety may come a real take-off. Read More


Intraday Momentum Confirmed: Day Traders Credited

Mar 24th, 2015 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Derivatives, ETFs

The first half-hour return of the S&P 500 ETF predicts the last half-hour return of the same trading day rather well. Why isn't this effect arbitraged away and a random walk restored? Read More


Alpha, Love, and Marriage

Mar 10th, 2015 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Behavioral finance, Risk management

The most important turning points of our lives tend to have consequences for our alpha seeking. A new paper gives us some insight into what those consequences are, and how they vary as to strategies.Read More


Debates Over Bayesianism Take Cartoon Form

Feb 10th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Risk management, Technology

Regular readers of AllAboutAlpha know that Bayesianism, a movement with the world of probability and statistics, has a good deal to do with contemporary pricing models and portfolio theory. It also has foes in that world, the frequentists, and a 2012 cartoon, recently raised to salience again by a Facebook post, has given those frequentists reason to gripe about Bayesian smugness. Read More


If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich?

Jan 14th, 2015 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, CAPM / Alpha Theory

A new paper by a senior market economist at BNP Paribas celebrates the invention of Learning Vector Quantization (LVQ), a machine-learning algorithm that could enable some smart economists to get very rich indeed. Read More


Low-Vol Anomaly Provokes Reflections on an Old Adage

Jan 11th, 2015 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Indexes, Risk management

A new paper by Eric Falkenstein discusses an old question: the reason for the high risk-adjusted return in low-risk equities, and the adjustments it requires in CAPM. This is no fleeting oddity, but a lasting characteristic of markets. In econo-speak, not only the existence but the persistence of the anomaly requires explanation.Read More


Money Markets: The Cure to What Ails the Sukuk Space

Dec 22nd, 2014 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Emerging markets

Two World Bank economists review the impediments that face the growth of the sukuk market, impediments often inherent in the theological precepts that gave rise to it. Part of the solution: well-functioning money markets as a context for sukuk issuance. Read More


The Best Offense is a Good Defense: Profiting from Hedging

Dec 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: Asset allocation, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Performance, Analytics & Metrics, Risk management

A regime switching model may treat a high-volatility environment as one “regime,” and a low-vol environment as its successor regime. The idea, as it applies to risk management, then, is simply to be ready in either setting for the switch to the other. This is both playing defense and playing offense. It is both managing risk and pursuing alpha. Read More


Stop Draghi[ng] My Heart Around

Nov 9th, 2014 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Currencies

Draghi and Yellen seem to be headed in opposite directions. One is revving up the money-creation engine, the other is 'tapering.' So why is Yellen so publicly supportive of Draghi? And what happened to the rebellion within the ECB? Read More


Hedge vs. Mutual Funds and the ‘Timing of Information Acquisition’

Oct 28th, 2014 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, CAPM / Alpha Theory

A new paper by a scholar at the McCombs School of Business looks at what causes what on Wall Street, starting with how (if at all) analyst downgrades cause price declines. Read More


Hong Kong Shariah-Compliant Launch Sells

Sep 22nd, 2014 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Emerging markets

If I should declare that I will never eat duck, and then I simply re-name certain ducks “chickens” and eat them, then people who genuinely as a matter of principle refuse to eat duck may consider me a false friend. And those who have no objection to the eating of duck may think me a silly goose. Read More


Betting on Vice Doesn’t Really Pan Out

Sep 9th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Behavioral finance, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Social investing

Christopher Faille, inspired by Greg Richey, of California State University, San Bernardino, has a few words about socially irresponsible investing, that is, the creation of a portfolio built around destructive human vices. Read More


What is Right & What is Wrong With the Sharpe Ratio?

Jul 30th, 2014 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Risk management

Despite what the title (Deflating the Sharpe Ratio) might cause a naïve observer to suspect, de Prado's recent presentation was more pro than con the ratio in question. Mend it, don't end it. Read More


A Challenge to Bayesian Probability

Jul 23rd, 2014 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Performance, Analytics & Metrics

The stakes, for mathematics, finance, and the overlap of the two, are pretty high. So my ears pricked up when I heard of a sweeping challenge to Bayesianism. Read More


Winner Takes All, and Liquidity Takers Win

Jul 22nd, 2014 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Derivatives

It does appear that speed is helpful in generating alpha. How is it helpful? Here there are two views, and the less HFT-friendly of these views has received some scholarly/empirical support. Read More


GMI Numbers-Crunching Predicts Stock Returns

Jun 30th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Performance, Analytics & Metrics

Starting with 350 available metrics of corporate governance and/or forensic accounting, GMI Ratings has boiled their model down to just 64, and from those they get three scores. Read More


Remembering Enron and Contending with Warren Buffett

Jun 17th, 2014 | Filed under: Alpha Hunters, Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory

An aphorism of Warren Buffett's once again making the rounds can be understood in at least three distinct ways. Faille looks at the possible constructions and decides that, whatever exactly Buffett meant to say or do, his reasoning here does little harm to his target, modern finance theory. Read More


Europe’s Valuation Practitioners Say: To Heck With Theory

Jun 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory

A recent survey of firm-valuation experts from 10 European countries indicates that they can produce wildly different values given the same inputs. Okay: maybe that’s not too surprising. Any valuation model will necessarily include parameters that will in turn require a best-guess approach, often as subjective in inspiration as itRead More


Axioma on those Low-Vol Picnic Baskets

Jul 25th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, CAPM / Alpha Theory, Indexes

The success of low-volatility strategies has been noted in the literature at least since the mid-1970s, with the publication of a seminal work by Haugen and Heins. And such strategies continue to prove successful today. Why do they still work? Why don't the excess profits draw in the bears, consuming all the picnic baskets, driving profit levels down to normal? Read More


Stop Loss (and Gain) Rules as Alpha Generators

Jul 15th, 2013 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory

A strategy based largely on stop-loss and stop-gain rules, one that uses such rules as the sole means of shifting assets from one asset class to another, can earn statistically significant CAPM alpha, according to a provocative study from the University of Arizona. Read More


Natural-Language Processing: After the Initial Buzz

Jun 10th, 2013 | Filed under: Alpha Seekers, Alpha Strategies, Behavioral finance

You can't expect to harvest much alpha if you simply buy on good sentiment as measured through news or on the web, and sell on negative sentiment. As the authors of this white paper put it in quant-speak, such predictive value as these measures have 'does not translate ... cleanly into return space.'" Read More