ESG Investing

ESG Ratings: A Compass without Direction

We examine the recent concerns about the reliability of the assessments of ESG ratings providers. We review the demand for ESG information, the stated objectives of ESG ratings providers, how ratings are determined, the evidence of what they achieve, and structural aspects of the industry that potentially influence ratings. We find that while ESG ratings providers may convey important insights into the nonfinancial impact of companies, significant shortcomings exist in their objectives, methodologies, and incentives which detract from the informativeness of their assessments.

Tax Aware

Taxes, Charity, and Hedge Funds: Tax Implications of Charitable Contributions of Leveraged Partnership Interests

As a result of recent Treasury regulations, investors in investment partnerships, such as hedge funds, might end up recognizing capital gains when they contribute their partnership interests to a charity. We explain how such taxable gains upon charitable contributions arise and quantify how punitive they might be.

Fixed Income

Sustainable Systematic Credit

Interest in sustainable investing is now expanding into fixed income. This paper assesses how measures of sustainability/ESG might be relevant for corporate bonds and analyzes how ESG measures can be incorporated into an investment process to achieve the joint object of maximizing risk-adjusted returns and a sustainability target.

Alternative Investing

The Tax Benefits of Direct Indexing: Not a One-Size-Fits-All Formula

An investor holding a direct indexing portfolio can obtain tax benefits by harvesting losses on individual stock positions. We show that investors with allocations to hedge funds and derivatives are the most likely category of investors to have systematic short-term capital gains in their portfolios and, therefore, benefit the most from losses harvested by direct-indexing strategies. We show how tax benefits are affected by equalizing the tax rate applicable to long-term and short-term capital gains.

Tax Aware

Limitation on Trader Fund Losses under the CARES Act of 2020

We explain how hedge fund investors might be affected by a limitation on excess business losses codified in recent tax legislation. In order to allocate business losses a hedge fund now must be a trader fund. After explaining the relationship between hedge fund losses and business losses, we illustrate with simple examples how the new provisions may affect hedge fund investors.

Tax Aware

Integration of Income and Estate Tax Planning

Preservation and transfer of wealth to future generations is one of the central financial goals for most high-net-worth families. We show that a family that invests with income and estate tax efficiency in mind can achieve substantially higher wealth levels than a family oblivious to taxes.

Value

Value and Interest Rates: Are Rates to Blame for Value’s Torments?

Some have blamed the interest rate environment for value stocks’ underperformance of growth stocks from 2017 to early 2020, as well as the stretch of lackluster performance for some value factors since Global Financial Crisis. We find the performance of value is not easily assessed based on the interest rate environment, and that factor timing strategies based on interest rate-related signals are likely to perform poorly.

Portfolio Risk and Performance

Portfolio Protection? It’s a Long (Term) Story…

Investors have a natural urge to protect their portfolios from sudden crashes, even though bad outcomes that unfold over longer periods are more detrimental to reaching long-term goals. We show risk-mitigating and diversifying strategies have added value more consistently than options-based hedging over the more important, longer drawdowns.

Value

Is (Systematic) Value Investing Dead?

Undoubtedly, many systematic approaches to value investing have suffered recently. However, we find the popular suggestion that value investing is dead to be premature. We find expectations of fundamental information have been and continue to be an important driver of security returns.

Fixed Income

(Systematic) Investing in Emerging Market Debt

We extend the analysis of systematic investment approaches to emerging market (EM) fixed income. We find that systematic exposures linked to carry, defensive, momentum and valuation themes are well compensated and lowly correlated in EM markets, and that a systematic approach to EM debt may be a powerful diversifier.