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Market focus: How smart is smart beta?

Professional Investors are familial with the Fama-French Factor model developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Eugene Fama with his colleague Kenneth French in the 1990s. According to this model, the expected return on a stock is the combination of the general equity market premium – the so-called beta of the single risk factor model – to which they added a “size premium” – on the premise that small cap stocks are expected to generate higher returns than large caps – and the value premium which is a reflection of a stock’s lower valuation compared to other stocks which trade higher on the basis of their expected earnings. This academic theory is at the heart of the so-called “smart beta” strategy based on ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds – which seek to replicate an exposure to the risk factors identified by Fama-French and by other pundits. However, since the beginning of the year, here have been a puzzling disconnect between “Growth stocks” and “Value stocks”.

Professional Investors are familial with the Fama-French Factor model developed by Nobel Prize Laureate Eugene Fama with his colleague Kenneth French in the 1990s. According to this model, the expected return on a stock is the combination of the general equity market premium - the so-called beta of the single risk factor model - to which they added a "size premium" - on the premise that small cap stocks are expected to generate higher returns than large caps - and the value premium which is a reflection of a stock's lower valuation compared to other stocks which trade higher on the basis of their expected earnings. This academic theory is at the heart of the so-called "smart beta" strategy based on ETFs - Exchange Traded Funds - which seek to replicate an exposure to the risk factors identified by Fama-French and by other pundits. However, since the beginning of the year, here have been a puzzling disconnect between "Growth stocks" and "Value stocks".


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