Factor investors seen largely unfazed by recent underperformance
Almost two-thirds of factor investors report that the performance of their factor allocations met or exceeded expectations in the 12 months to the end of March, according to the latest Invesco Global Factor Investing Study.
According to the study, 59% of existing factor investors plan to increase their allocation.
Georg Elsaesser, senior portfolio manager, quantitative strategies at Invesco, told IPE he was encouraged by the findings given that many factors had underperformed over the past 15-18 months.
“To me it suggests that they have not actually disappointed, but that they have performed in line with what you would have expected had you known which market environment was going to come,” he said.
“The strong belief behind factor investing has not changed because of the recent underperformance.”
In the 12 months leading up to Invesco’s programme of interviews, factors such as momentum, low volatility and quality outperformed market-cap weighted benchmarks, but some of the most common factor strategies, including value and size, underperformed.
Specialists at EDHEC’s Scientific Beta have said a large number of long-only multi-factor strategies have performed disappointingly over the past three years and that the main explanation for this relates to implementation choices of the factor exposures rather than to the factors themselves.
Face-to-face interviews with 241 institutional and wholesale investors with more than $25trn (€22trn) in assets under management were carried out during April and May for Invesco’s 2019 study.
Another finding was that investors appear split over the relationship between factor investing and ESG: 46% of institutional investor respondents indicated they believe ESG complements the performance of factor strategies, 45% reported they see ESG as not impacting factor strategy performance in either direction, and 9% were of the opinion ESG had a negative impact on factor strategy performance.
Other findings include:
- The value factor continues to have the widest level of support among both institutional (86%) and wholesale investors (91%);
- A 3-to-1 majority of factor investors choose an active implementation approach as opposed to a passive one;
- 70% of institutional investors believe factor investing can be extended to fixed income, up from 62% in 2018;
- Where investors implement strategies passively via a factor index, almost half of respondents (42% institutional and 44% wholesale) prefer a custom approach to index design
The study report can be found here.