Category Archive: Portfolio Construction

Aug 17

Look for the Signal amongst the Noise

Background When disappointing performance occurs, alarm bells will typically ring in the minds of investors, advisers, asset consultants and perhaps the managers themselves. Investing has only ever been a long game but thanks to the internet, the 24-hour news cycle, social media, etc. etc., it appears that success is expected to occur quickly and this …

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Mar 30

Australian Equities Market from a Global Equities Perspective…quant- style

It’s well known that the Australian equity market is only around 2% of Global equity markets. When we have allocations that overweight the Australian equities asset class compared to the Global equities asset class in our portfolios, it is typically justified due to the benefits of franking credits, higher dividends, and perhaps familiarity. The primary risks associated with …

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Nov 14

Does higher non-market risk produce higher alpha?…and the possible introduction of the Furey Ratio

Background There’s a widely held belief that to create alpha (i.e. positive returns after adjusting for risk…let’s say market risk), a manager needs to make meaningful bets away from the market. That is, stop being a “benchmark hugger”, concentrate the portfolio with best ideas, and/or move the portfolio holdings away from the benchmark and possibly …

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Nov 07

The importance of asset allocation in Australia…BHB revisited

We’ve all seen various developments in product design from hedge funds to long/short to real return approaches, and then there’s the increased focus on tactical and dynamic asset allocation. You would expect all of this to lead to different drivers of portfolio risk…i.e. away from traditional asset class drivers to market timing, investment selection, and …

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Sep 20

A widely accepted portfolio construction flaw

The typical approach to portfolio construction in the world of financial planning is a 2-step process (of course, this is after the desired risk and return characteristics are settled). The first step is setting asset allocation and the second is investment selection where most of the industry chooses to select from a variety of managed fund strategies. …

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Aug 26

Real Return funds…lacking real-ity?

What a fascinating investment world its been over the past few months. We’ve had concerns about Greece exiting the Euro, commodity price crashes, a Chinese sharemarket crash and now some of the biggest developed economy sharemarket declines since the dark days of the GFC. Volatility has been somewhat benign for a long time thanks to …

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Feb 21

A few simple thoughts on a few not so simple markets

Following are my recent thoughts around markets with many charts to support these views. These views are far from complete but do represent a reasonable summary at this point in time. Income Assets   Source: RBA, Delta Research & Advisory The above left chart suggests the market believes the cash rate is heading towards 1.5% …

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Aug 01

Ramblings about Unconstrained Debt Funds and Portfolio Construction…wonkish and a work in progress

I’ve just returned from a manager research trip in the UK where we visited a variety of strategies from a variety of managers and fortunately for me, with some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the advice industry (hat tip D&G … and I don’t mean Dolce and Gabbana). Several of the managers we …

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May 05

Revisiting Asset Weighted Returns and the Lifecycle Fund

Given the start of MySuper this year, superannuation trustees have released numerous lifecycle funds to satisfy this new legislation. Whilst lifecycle funds have been popular among superannuation trustees, the investment and adviser community haven’t been so complimentary. Either way, lifecycle funds definitely have a place in the investment landscape and they provide an approach to …

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Jun 14

To find alpha, first define it

A couple of months ago I presented at a Portfolio Construction Academy forum of around 70 financial planners and researchers about constructing investment portfolios and fund manager assessment using risk factors. From what I can tell the session went quite well and much to my relief the feedback was quite positive. Following the presentation I …

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