A South Korean money manager said its artificial intelligence-augmented value strategy would return 13% annually and “revive” the value factor. But a recent Bloomberg article says that value traditionalists “will be shocked by the composition of the portfolio.”
The top three holdings of the fund, created by Qraft Technologies, were Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook, “far from the kind of undervalued stocks typically favored by a value strategy,” the article notes. But according to Qraft, the composition represents a “new” value strategy that involves estimating a firm’s intangible assets based on financial statements and patent databases.
The firm’s founder, Hyungsik Kim, explains: “Intangible assets have become a more important factor in the actual value of a company due to the development of information technology. It is easy to tell which of the following is more important in measuring the value of Amazon: warehouses (tangibles) or automated logistics systems (intangibles).”
The article characterizes the argument as the “rallying cry for many remaining proponents of value: The factor isn’t dead, it’s simply plagued by outdated accounting rules that treat intangible investments such as research as expenses rather than capital.” This results in knowledge-heavy businesses appearing more expensive than they really are because such treatment leads to inflated costs and deflated book values.