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Perspective

The Long Run Is Lying to You

Everyone knows the value strategy has been a grave disappointment out-of-sample since, say, 1990, based on realized returns. However, odd as it might sound, the realized average return on a strategy is not necessarily the best estimate of its true long-term expected return. In fact, the right estimate of the true long-term expected return of the value strategy is considerably higher than many might think if they were to just look at simple past returns – especially right now. Why? I explain it in this note (spoiler: it has to do with changes in valuation).

Perspective

A Gut Punch

Sure, the last nearly three years have hurt, but at least the explanation was straightforward. A core part of our process, value, suffered. So when value rebounds, we will too, right? Well, not necessarily. To be clear, if value makes a prolonged major recovery, we certainly believe we will as well, but over short periods that doesn’t have to happen. Unfortunately, this is what we have experienced since the end of October. Regardless, it does not change my view one drop that going forward multi-factor investing is a darn good bet in a world that needs some darn good bets.

Perspective

Is (Systematic) Value Investing Dead?

When value has underperformed for so long, it’s natural and proper that people wonder if it’s ever going to work again. To test the popular explanations for why value investing is “broken,” Cliff tweaks the value factor’s construction to remove the stocks that best fit these stories. He finds no “this time is different” explanation holds water, affirming our belief that the medium-term odds are rather dramatically on value’s side.

Perspective

The Valuesburg Address

One score and eight years ago Fama and French brought forth on this world, a new factor, conceived in either risk or behavioral effects, and dedicated to the proposition that all portfolios are not created equal. Now we are engaged in a great drawdown, testing whether investors in that factor, or any factor so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure…

Perspective

Never Has a Venial Sin Been Punished This Quickly and Violently!

Three months ago in “It’s Time for a Venial Value-Timing Sin,” Cliff demonstrated the value factor’s historic cheapness, suggesting it’s time to “sin a little” and modestly overweight value. While portfolio tilts are seldom promptly rewarded, it’s also rare they are instantly punished. In this piece, Cliff shows how 2020 has been the exception to the rule, as value has begun this year with its worst loss in its decade-long drawdown.

Perspective

It’s Time for a Venial Value-Timing Sin

Cliff discusses how to measure whether a factor, in this case the value factor, is itself rich or cheap versus history. The answer, regardless of the approach taken in measuring cheapness, is that value is currently quite cheap compared to history.

Working Paper

How Do Factor Premia Vary Over Time? A Century of Evidence

We examine four prominent factor premia – value, momentum, carry, and defensive – over a century from six asset classes. The results offer support for time-varying risk premia models with important implications for theory seeking to explain the sources of factor returns.

Journal Article

Deep Value

We examine the efficacy of a hypothetical deep value strategy—where the valuation spread between cheap and expensive securities is wide relative to its history—across global asset classes and also provide new evidence on competing theories for the value premium.

Perspective

Going Deep on Contrarian Factor Timing

We studied all the interesting things that happen when some stocks, or other assets, get deeply cheap while others get deeply expensive, and learn more about value investing and how timing works when increasing breadth of comparisons.

Journal Article

Contrarian Factor Timing is Deceptively Difficult

The increasing popularity of factor investing has led to valuation concerns among some contrarian-minded investors and fears of imminent mean-reversion and underperformance.