How a Market Slowdown Affects Risk Models

    April 02, 2020
    Ryan Shelby, CAIA, guest contributor

    The rapid spread and wide-felt human and economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have continued to roil global equity markets. The chart below plots factor performance since the market began pulling back on February 19. Low volatility continues to be the best-performing factor by a wide margin, with the majority of the other factors underperforming.

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    The risks of bond markets can’t be overlooked—returns will likely be lower than inflation. I don’t think this will feed an immediate change in the expected return of pension plan assets. Lots of people will be hesitant to plug in lower expected returns.


    By the end of 2019, equity markets finished off an incredible decade with returns well above historical averages, and volatility well below them. Investors that had any kind of diversification or hedging in their portfolios were likely frustrated about lagging, long-only U.S. equities and may have gone either full beta or deployed ‘hedging strategies’ that had been performing well relative to the broader market (likely due to their higher beta). Now with the sharp decline that markets have experienced since February 19th, investors have perhaps been reminded why protecting capital on the downside is still so important.


    Coronavirus and What that Means for Factors

    March 18, 2020
    Ryan Shelby, CAIA, guest contributor

    As the world becomes increasingly concerned with the economic fallout related to the COVID-19 virus, global equity markets have sharply retreated. The chart below plots worldwide Google search activity for “coronavirus” relative to the performance of the MSCI World Index. Not surprisingly, the index performance is negatively correlated with the rise in searches for coronavirus, with the recent spike in searches inversely mirroring the steep drop in the MSCI World Index

  • Breaking Bad  

    The Downside of Beta

    March 12, 2020
    361 Team

    Nearly two years ago, we wrote about the increasing beta we saw in many Long/Short Equity funds and the potential downside it could cause if markets were to stop their upward trajectory. At the time of that writing, we were smack in the middle of a record bull market run and it likely wasn’t a concern to many readers. A few months later, in late 2018 we did see some volatility, but by the time anyone noticed, markets shot higher (in early 2019) and strategies with higher beta continued to outperform those that were less sensitive to overall market movements.