Rob Arnott Claims Victory on Factor Crowding

Research Affiliates Co-Founder Rob Arnott is feeling “redeemed” after the rotation earlier this month from growth to value outperformance, according to an article in Bloomberg that says, “it smacks of quantitative strategies growing in popularity so when the trend breaks, it breaks big.”

In a phone interview with Bloomberg, Arnott said, “whether this is the start of a comeback for value is arguably the most important question here because value has underperformed now for 12 years.”

One explanation for value’s “moment in the sun,” the article reports, is that a rise in Treasury yields “battered the bond-proxy names that have come to dominate momentum indexes, while lifting the banks and energy companies that populate value.”

While Arnott—described by the article as a “smart-beta pioneer who specializes in value strategies”–says it’s impossible to know what will happen next, he believes the odds may be in value’s favor: “It’s far more likely that value will win in the coming year, two years, three years, five years, than that growth will continue on a roll.”

Of a potential reversion for value, he says, “you’re likely to see grinding pain for the strategies that have performed the best and the segments of the market that have performed the best.”