Rob Arnott Steers Clear of FAANG Stocks

A recent Forbes article offers a recap of an interview with Research Affiliates’ founder and CEO Rob Arnott, including his insights regarding the market and “smart beta” investing. Here are some highlights: Research Affiliates’ index investing strategy weights companies by the size of their businesses rather than market capitalization (share price). Arnott argues, “Why would you want to have a bigger investment in a company just because it got more expensive? That makes no sense.”… Read More

Investing Insights Regarding Smart Beta Strategies

At this month’s 2017 Morningstar ETF Conference, Alex Bryan interviewed Chris Brightman, the chief investment officer of Research Affiliates, to discuss concerns regarding smart beta products. Here are some highlights: Bryan points out that while data provided by Research Affiliates shows strong back-tested performance for some smart-beta strategies, the “live” record of many of these products has been weak. Brightman clarified that his findings are not restricted to smart-beta strategies. “If we look across the… Read More

Smart Beta Investing May Not Be So Smart

A new study has raised questions as to whether smart beta mutual funds, which are on course to reach $1 trillion in assets by the end of 2017, are as “smart as they claim to be,” according to a recent article in the Financial Times. The article quotes University of Finland finance professor Antti Suhonen, who led the research, from his report (published in May): “Investing in smart beta does require good investor education, due… Read More

Indexing Beats Smart-Beta Track Record

Many smart-beta funds– which develop portfolios focusing on various factors such as low volatility, value, or momentum– have underperformed the market, especially after accounting for fees and expenses. This according to a recent MarketWatch article which concludes, “Tally another point in the pro-indexing column.” While the article points out that the rate of outperformance depends on the time frame analyzed, it says that “broadly, only 30% to 40% of smart beta exchange-traded funds beat their… Read More

Rob Arnott Questions Use of the Smart Beta Strategies He Pioneered

Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates LLC, published a paper earlier this month in which he questions the use of some “smart beta” investment strategies he pioneered, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Arnott, known by many as the “godfather of smart beta,” says the popularity of some passive-investing strategies are making them expensive, and has “built tools that he says will help investors determine which strategies are overpriced.” In the… Read More

Simple is Smart in Smart-Beta Investing

Using a database of over 20 countries, a team of British academics tested the five most popular smart beta factors to see whether they would have proven successful over time. This according to a recent article in the Financial Times. The factors studied and respective finds are as follows: Low-risk: the highest returns “come from avoiding the riskiest stocks, rather than seeking out the least risky.” When divided into quintiles going back to 1963, the… Read More

Rob Arnott Says Clock is Ticking on Smart Beta ETFs

A smart-beta pioneer, Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates warns that these investment vehicles are in a bubble, says an article in last week’s Bloomberg. Smart-beta ETFs organize securities based on quantitative factors like volatility or “cheapness”, and the article explains that Arnott’s position is nothing new (he publicly battled with Cliff Asness on the topic a year ago). In fact, his firm’s website (Research Affiliates specializes in “cheap-stock” ETFs) offers investors a tool to gauge… Read More

Is Smart-Beta Investing Smart?

Smart-beta investing is getting a lot of attention and Chris Brightman, chief investment officer of Research Affiliates, has covered a lot of ground in this territory. However, while this investment methodology has been gaining popularity, Research Affiliates is warning investors that a crash may be coming. In a recent interview with Barron’s, Brightman shares his thoughts and concerns on the subject. Unlike traditional market-weighted indices, smart-beta investing uses measures such as volatility, valuation and earnings… Read More

Are Formula-based Investment Strategies Necessarily “Smart”?

The word “smart” is thrown around a lot these days to describe phones, tables, and a host of other gadgets intended to make our life easier.  But, as we know, the mere existence of capabilities doesn’t necessarily mean those capabilities work well. Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates, discussed this as it relates to the “smart beta” investment strategy. “Smart beta” describes a portfolio-building strategy that focuses on a company’s fundamentals (such as revenue, book… Read More

Asness vs. Arnott on Smart Beta, Factor Timing, and Performance Chasing

Cliff Asness, co-founder of AQR Capital Management, added fuel to the debate over “smart beta” investing with a recent paper attacking arguments made by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates. Arnott, once understood as a proponent of smart beta approaches due to his research and development of fundamental indexing, claimed that many smart beta exchange traded funds “have succeeded solely because they have become more and more expensive.” In an argument that Asness describes as alarmist,… Read More