Resources

Mutual Funds Lace Portfolios With Dividend ‘Juice’

ETF

It has long been known that many investors have a preference for cash dividends. From the perspective of classical financial theory, this behavior is an anomaly. The reason is that, in their 1961 paper, “Dividend Policy, Growth, and the Valuation of Shares,” Merton Miller and Franco Modigliani famously established that dividend policy should be irrelevant…

The Fading Benefits of Low Volatility Strategies

Low-volatility strategies have quickly become the darling of many investors, thanks largely to trauma caused by the bear market that arose from the 2008-2009 financial crisis combined with academic research showing that the low-volatility anomaly exists in equity markets around the globe. Earlier this week, we took a detailed look at a 2016 study from David Blitz,…

The Top 10 Places Your Next Dollar Should Go

There is no shortage of receptacles clamoring for your money each day. No matter how much money you have or make, it could never keep up with all the seemingly urgent invitations to part with it. Separating true financial priorities from flash impulses is an increasing challenge, even when you’re trying to do the right…

Choosing Between Roth and Traditional IRAs

Among the most important decisions investors make is their choice of location for assets within the various alternatives available for retirement (tax-advantaged) accounts. Allocating between a traditional IRA (a pretax, tax-deferred account) and a Roth IRA (a post-tax, tax-free account) can have a pronounced impact on retirement outcomes, given the $14 trillion in tax-advantaged retirement…

Low Vol Benefits Fading

ETF

Low-volatility strategies have quickly become the darling of many investors, thanks largely to trauma caused by the bear market that arose from the 2008-2009 financial crisis combined with academic research showing that the low-volatility anomaly exists in equity markets around the globe. Earlier this week, we took a detailed look at a 2016 study from…

Investors Should Re-Examine Annuity Aversion

ETF

Numerous academic studies advocate for the partial-to-full annuitization of financial assets. Yet despite the evidence, a majority of investors remain reluctant to annuitize for both behavioral and financial reasons. The reluctance to purchase annuities has been called the “annuity puzzle.” I’ll try to shed some light on why this puzzle exists, as well as offer…

Getting To The Cause Of Quality

ETF

Among the hot “smart beta” strategies into which investors are pouring assets is quality. For example, the iShares Edge MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL | A-84), which is only about three years old, already has $2.7 billion in assets. Before you consider investing in these increasingly popular strategies, however, it’s worth understanding the sources…

Arbitrage Capital Increases Market Efficiency

ETF

The hypothesis of an efficient market is based on the concept that informed, rational traders would arbitrage away any temporary deviations from “correct” prices. Thus, price efficiency depends upon the actions of arbitrageurs and the availability of arbitrage capital. When arbitrage capital is plentiful, anomalies should be quickly eliminated. However, if capital is scarce or…

Investors Like Lotteries

ETF

There’s substantial evidence from the field of behavioral finance that individual investors have a strong preference for investments that exhibit the same characteristics as lottery tickets. Two of these characteristics are high kurtosis (or fat tails) and positive skewness, meaning values to the right of (or more than) the mean are fewer but farther from…

The Costs of Socially Responsible Investing

Socially responsible investing (SRI) aligns ethical and financial concerns for investors. SRI has gradually developed over time to include the consideration of firms’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Of note is that, while SRI has evolved, the original practice of negative screening for the stocks of companies involved in harmful or controversial activities (so-called…

Differing Definitions Of Quality

ETF

The 1997 publication of Mark Carhart’s paper, “On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance,” led to the four-factor model (which added momentum to market beta, size and value) becoming the workhorse model in finance. The next major contribution came from Robert Novy-Marx. His 2012 paper, “The Other Side of Value: The Gross Profitability Premium,” provided investors…

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