Presentation on theme: "Investment Philosophy: The Secret Ingredient in Investment Success"— Presentation transcript:
1 Investment Philosophy: The Secret Ingredient in Investment Success Aswath Damodaran
2 What is an investment philosophy? An investment philosophy is a coherent way of thinking about markets, how they work (and sometimes do not) and the types of mistakes that you believe consistently underlie investor behavior.An investment strategy is much narrower. It is a way of putting into practice an investment philosophy.For lack of a better term, an investment philosophy is a set of core beliefs that you can go back to in order to generate new strategies when old ones do not work.
3 Ingredients of an Investment Philosophy Step 1: All investment philosophies begin with a view about how human beings learn (or fail to learn). Underlying every philosophy, therefore is a view of human frailty - that they learn too slowly, learn too fast, tend to crowd behavior etc….Step 2: From step 1, you generate a view about markets behave and perhaps where they fail…. Your views on market efficiency or inefficiency are the foundations for your investment philosophy.Step 3: This step is tactical. You take your views about how investors behave and markets work (or fail to work) and try to devise strategies that reflect your beliefs.
4 An Example.. Market Belief: Investors over react to news Investment Philosophy: Stocks that have had bad news announcements will be under priced relative to stocks that have good news announcements.Investment Strategies:Buy (Sell short) stocks after bad (good) earnings announcementsBuy (Sell short) stocks after big stock price declines (increases)
5 Why do you need an investment philosophy? If you do not have an investment philosophy, you will find yourself doing the following:Lacking a rudder or a core set of beliefs, you will be easy prey for charlatans and pretenders, with each one claiming to have found the magic strategy that beats the market.Switching from strategy to strategy, you will have to change your portfolio, resulting in high transactions costs and paying more in taxes.Using a strategy that may not be appropriate for you, given your objectives, risk aversion and personal characteristics. In addition to having a portfolio that under performs the market, you are likely to find yourself with an ulcer or worse.
7 Understanding the Client (Investor) There is no “one” perfect portfolio for every client. To create a portfolio that is right for an investor, we need to know:The investor’s risk preferencesThe investor’s time horizonThe investor’s tax statusIf you are your own client (i.e, you are investing your own money), know yourself.
8 I. Measuring RiskRisk is not a bad thing to be avoided, nor is it a good thing to be sought out. The best definition of risk is the following:Ways of evaluating riskMost investors do not know have a quantitative measure of how much risk that they want to takeTraditional risk and return models tend to measure risk in terms of volatility or standard deviation
9 What we know about investor risk preferences.. Whether we measure risk in quantitative or qualitative terms, investors are risk averse.The degree of risk aversion will vary across investors at any point in time, and for the same investor across time (as a function of his or her age, wealth, income and health)There is a trade off between risk and returnTo get investors to take more risk, you have to offer a higher expected returnsConversely, if investors want higher expected returns, they have to be willing to take more risk.Proposition 1: The more risk averse an investor, the less of his or her portfolio should be in risky assets (such as equities).
10 Risk and Return Models in Finance Note that all of the models of risk and return in finance agree on the first two steps. They deviate at the last step in the way they measure market risk, withThe CAPM, capturing all of it in one beta, relative to the market portfolioThe APM, capturing the market risk in multiple betas against unspecified economic factorsThe Multi-Factor model, capturing the market risk in multiple betas against specified macro economic factorsThe Regression model, capturing the market risk in proxies such as market capitalization and price/book ratios
11 Some quirks in risk aversion… Individuals are far more affected by losses than equivalent gains (loss aversion), and this behavior is made worse by frequent monitoring (myopia).The choices that people make (and the risk aversion they manifest) when presented with risky choices or gambles can depend upon how the choice is presented (framing).Individuals tend to be much more willing to take risks with what they consider “found money” than with money that they have earned (house money effect).There are two scenarios where risk aversion seems to decrease and even be replaced by risk seeking. One is when individuals are offered the chance of making an extremely large sum with a very small probability of success (long shot bias). The other is when individuals who have lost money are presented with choices that allow them to make their money back (break even effect).When faced with risky choices, whether in experiments or game shows, individuals often make mistakes in assessing the probabilities of outcomes, over estimating the likelihood of success,, and this problem gets worse as the choices become more complex.
12 II. Time HorizonAs an investor, how would you categorize your investment time horizon?Long term investor (3-5 years or more)Short term investor (< 1 year)Opportunistic investor (long term when you have to be long term, short term when necessary)Don’t knowIf you were a portfolio manager, would your answer be different?
13 Investor Time Horizon An investor’s time horizon reflects personal characteristics: Some investors have the patience needed to hold investments for long time periods and others do not.need for cash. Investors with significant cash needs in the near term have shorter time horizons than those without such needs.Job security and income: Other things remaining equal, the more secure you are about your income, the longer your time horizon will be.An investor’s time horizon can have an influence on both the kinds of assets that investor will hold in his or her portfolio and the weights of those assets.Proposition 2: Most investors’ actual time horizons are shorter than than their stated time horizons. (We are all less patient than we think we are…)
14 III. Tax Status and Portfolio Composition Investors can spend only after-tax returns. Hence taxes do affect portfolio composition.The portfolio that is right for an investor who pays no taxes might not be right for an investor who pays substantial taxes.Moreover, the portfolio that is right for an investor on one portion of his portfolio (say, his tax-exempt pension fund) might not be right for another portion of his portfolio (such as his taxable savings)The effect of taxes on portfolio composition and returns is made more complicated by:The different treatment of current income (dividends, coupons) and capital gainsThe different tax rates on various portions of savings (pension versus non-pension)Changing tax rates across time
15 Dividends versus Capital Gains Tax Rates for Individuals: United States This has generally been true in the United States, but is not always the case in other markets. For instance, in the UK, where investors are allowed to offset the corporate tax paid on dividends against their taxes, dividends may have a tax advantage for some investors over capital gains.There are several markets where capital gains are not taxed at all.
16 The Tax Effect: Stock Returns before and after taxes The Tax Effect: Stock Returns before and after taxes.. With one year time horizons
21 Asset AllocationThe first step in portfolio management is the asset allocation decision.The asset allocation decision determines what proportions of the portfolio will be invested in different asset classes - stocks, bonds and real assets.Asset allocation can be passive,It can be based upon the mean-variance framework: trading off higher expected return for higher standard deviation.It can be based upon simpler rules of diversification or market value basedWhen asset allocation is determined by market views, it is active asset allocation.
22 I. Passive Asset Allocation In passive asset allocation, the proportions of the various asset classes held in an investor’s portfolio will be determined by the risk preferences of that particular investor. These proportions can be determined in one of two ways:Statistical techniques can be employed to find that combination of assets that yields the highest return, given a certain risk levelThe proportions of risky assets can mirror the market values of the asset classes. Any deviation from these proportions will lead to a portfolio that is over or under weighted in some asset classes and thus not fully diversified. The risk aversion of an investor will show up only in the riskless asset holdings.
24 Limitations of this Approach This approach is heavily dependent upon three assumptions:That investors can provide their risk preferences in terms of varianceThey do not care about anything but mean and variance.That the variance-covariance matrix between asset classes remains stable over time.If correlations across asset classes and covariances are unstable, the output from the Markowitz portfolio approach is useless.
27 II. Active Asset Allocation (Market Timing) The payoff to perfect timing: In a 1986 article, a group of researchers raised the shackles of many an active portfolio manager by estimating that as much as 93.6% of the variation in quarterly performance at professionally managed portfolios could be explained by the mix of stocks, bonds and cash at these portfolios.Avoiding the bad markets: In a different study in 1992, Shilling examined the effect on your annual returns of being able to stay out of the market during bad months. He concluded that an investor who would have missed the 50 weakest months of the market between 1946 and 1991 would have seen his annual returns almost double from 11.2% to 19%.Across funds: Ibbotson examined the relative importance of asset allocation and security selection of 94 balanced mutual funds and 58 pension funds, all of which had to make both asset allocation and security selection decisions. Using ten years of data through 1998, Ibbotson finds that about 40% of the differences in returns across funds can be explained by their asset allocation decisions and 60% by security selection.
28 Market Timing Strategies Asset Allocation: Adjust your mix of assets, allocating more than you normally would (given your time horizon and risk preferences) to markets that you believe are under valued and less than you normally would to markets that are overvalued.Style Switching: Switch investment styles and strategies to reflect expected market performance.Sector Rotation: Shift your funds within the equity market from sector to sector, depending upon your expectations of future economic and market growth.Market Speculation: Speculate on market direction, using either financial leverage (debt) or derivatives to magnify profits.
29 Market Timing Approaches Non-financial indicatorsSpurious Indicators: Over time, researchers have found a number of real world phenomena to be correlated with market movements. (The winner of the Super Bowl, Sun Spots…)Feel Good Indicators: When people are feeling good, markets will do well.Hype Indicators: When stocks become the topic of casual conversation, it is time to get out. The Cocktail party chatter measure (Time elapsed at party before talk turns to stocks, average age of chatterers, fad component)Technical IndicatorsPrice Indicators: Charting patterns and indicators give advance notice.Volume Indicators: Trading volume may give clues to market futureVolatility Indicators: Higher volatility often a predictor or higher stock returns in the futureReversion to the mean: Every asset has a normal range of value and things revert back to normal.Fundamentals: There is an intrinsic value for the market.
30 Non-financial indicators.. Spurious indicators that may seem to be correlated with the market but have no rational basis. Almost all spurious indicators can be explained by chance.Feel good indicators that measure how happy are feeling - presumably, happier individuals will bid up higher stock prices. These indicators tend to be contemporaneous rather than leading indicators.Hype indicators that measure whether there is a stock price bubble. Detecting what is abnormal can be tricky and hype can sometimes feed on itself before markets correct.
31 The past as an indicator of the future… Which of the following is the best predictor of an up-year next year?The last year was an up yearThe last two years have been up yearsThe last year was a down yearThe last two years have been down yearsNone of the above
32 The January Effect, the Weekend Effect etc.… As January goes, so goes the year – if stocks are up, the market will be up for the year, but a bad beginning usually precedes a poor year.According to the venerable Stock Trader’s Almanac that is compiled every year by Yale Hirsch, this indicator has worked 88% of the time.Note, though that if you exclude January from the year’s returns and compute the returns over the remaining 11 months of the year, the signal becomes much weaker and returns are negative only 50% of the time after a bad start in January. Thus, selling your stocks after stocks have gone down in January may not protect you from poor returns.
33 Trading VolumePrice increases that occur without much trading volume are viewed as less likely to carry over into the next trading period than those that are accompanied by heavy volume.At the same time, very heavy volume can also indicate turning points in markets. For instance, a drop in the index with very heavy trading volume is called a selling climax and may be viewed as a sign that the market has hit bottom. This supposedly removes most of the bearish investors from the mix, opening the market up presumably to more optimistic investors. On the other hand, an increase in the index accompanied by heavy trading volume may be viewed as a sign that market has topped out.Another widely used indicator looks at the trading volume on puts as a ratio of the trading volume on calls. This ratio, which is called the put-call ratio is often used as a contrarian indicator. When investors become more bearish, they sell more puts and this (as the contrarian argument goes) is a good sign for the future of the market.
36 Interest rates…The same argument of mean reversion has been made about interest rates. For instance, there are many economists who viewed the low interest rates in the United States in early 2000 to be an aberration and argued that interest rates would revert back to normal levels (about 6%, which was the average treasury bond rate from ).The evidence on mean reversion on interest rates is mixed. While there is some evidence that interest rates revert back to historical norms, the norms themselves change from period to period.
37 Fundamentals Fundamental Indicators Intrinsic value models If short term rates are low, buy stocks…If long term rates are low, buy stocks…If economic growth is high, buy stocks…Intrinsic value modelsValue the market using a discounted cash flow model and compare to actual level.,Relative value modelsLook at how market is priced, given fundamentals and given history.
38 The problem with fundamental indicators.. There are many indicators that market timers use in forecasting market movements. They can be generally categorized into:Macro economic Indicators: Market timers have at various times claimed that the best time to invest in stocks is when economic growth is picking up or slowing down…Interest rate Indicators: Both the level of rates and the slope of the yield curve have been used as predictors of future market movements. For instance, short term rates exceeding long term rates ( a downward sloping yield curve) has been considered anathema for stocks.It is easy to show that markets are correlated with fundamental indicators but it is much more difficult to find leading indicators of market movements.
40 An intrinsic value for the S&P 500: January 1, 2006 Level of the index =Dividends plus Stock buybacks in most recent year = 3.34% of indexExpected growth rate in earnings/ cash flows - next 5 years = 8%Growth rate after year 5 = 4.39% (Set = T.Bond Rate)Risk free Rate = 4.39%; Risk Premium = 4%;
41 And for the Bovespa… Level of the index on 10/11/06 = 38,322 Dividends on the index = 4.41% in last yearExpected growth in earnings/ dividends in US $ terms = 10%Growth rate beyond year 5 = 4.70% (US treasury bond rate)Riskfree Rate = 4.70%; Risk Premium = 4% + 3% (Brazil) = 7%)
42 A short cut to intrinsic value: Earnings yield versus T.Bond Rates
43 Regression ResultsThere is a strong positive relationship between E/P ratios and T.Bond rates, as evidenced by the correlation of between the two variables.,In addition, there is evidence that the term structure also affects the PE ratio.In the following regression, using data, we regress E/P ratios against the level of T.Bond rates and a term structure variable (T.Bond - T.Bill rate)E/P = 2.10% T.Bond Rate (T.Bond Rate-T.Bill Rate) (2.44) (6.64) (-1.34)R squared = 51.35%The regression yields the following conclusions:Every 1% increase in the treasury bond rate increases the earnings yield by 0.75% (an increase in the earnings yield lowers the PE ratio). The effect on the PE ratio will therefore depend upon whether the T.Bond rate is increasing from 4% to 5% (the effect will be much larger) or from 9% to 10%..Every 1% increase in the difference between long term and short term rates decreases the earnings yield by 0.32% (and increases PE ratios). As the yield curve becomes more upward sloping, expectations of real economic growth generally increase. This variable may therefore be a proxy fore economic growth. Higher growth translates into higher PE ratios.
44 How well does market timing work? 1. Mutual Funds
48 IV. Timing other markets It is not just the equity and bond markets that investors try to time. In fact, it can be argued that there are more market timers in the currency and commodity markets.The keys to understanding the currency and commodity markets areThese markets have far fewer investors and they tend to be bigger.Currency and commodity markets are not as deep as equity marketsAs a consequence,Price changes in these markets tend to be correlated over time and momentum can have a bigger impactWhen corrections hit, they tend to be large since investors suffer from lemmingitis.Resulting inTiming strategies that look successful and low risk for extended periodsBut collapse in a crisis…
49 Summing Up on Market Timing A successful market timer will earn far higher returns than a successful security selector.Everyone wants to be a good market timer.Consequently, becoming a good market timer is not only difficult to do, it is even more difficult to sustain.
50 To be a successful market timer Understand the determinants of marketsBe aware of shifts in fundamentalsSince you are basing your analysis by looking at the past, you are assuming that there has not been a significant shift in the underlying relationship. As Wall Street would put it, paradigm shifts wreak havoc on these models. Even if you assume that the past is prologue and that there will be reversion back to historic norms, you do not control this part of the process..And respect the marketYou can believe the market is wrong but you ignore it at your own peril.
52 Security SelectionSecurity selection refers to the process by which assets are picked within each asset class, once the proportions for each asset class have been defined.Broadly speaking, there are three different approaches to security selection.The first to focus on fundamentals and decide whether a stock is under or overvalued relative to these fundamentals.The second is to focus on charts and technical indicators to decide whether a stock is on the verge o changing direction.The third is to trade ahead of or on information releases that will affect the value of the firm.
53 Active investors come in all forms... Fundamental investors can bevalue investors, who buy low PE or low PBV stocks which trade at less than the value of assets in placegrowth investors, who buy high PE and high PBV stocks which trade at less than the value of future growthTechnical investors can bemomentum investors, who buy on strength and sell on weaknessreversal investors, who do the exact oppositeInformation traders can believethat markets learn slowly and buy on good news and sell on bad newsthat markets overreact and do the exact oppositeThey cannot all be right in the same period and no one approach can be right in all periods.
54 The Many Faces of Value Investing… Intrinsic Value Investors: These investors try to estimate the intrinsic value of companies (using discounted cash flow models) and act on their findings.Relative Value Investors: Following in the Ben Graham tradition, these investors use multiples and fundamentals to identify companies that look cheap on a relative value basis.Contrarian Investors: These are investors who invest in companies that others have given up on, either because they have done badly in the past or because their future prospects look bleak.Activist Value Investors: These are investors who invest in poorly managed and poorly run firms but then try to change the way the companies are run.
55 I. Intrinsic Value Investors: The determinants of intrinsic value With an asset with an infinite life, you need to stop estimating cash flows at some point and estimate a terminal value. In a discounted cash flow framework, this can be done when the growth rate in cash flows becomes perpetual (less than or equal to the growth rate of the economy)Sets up the basic inputs:1. Discount rates2. Cash flows3. Expected Growth4. Length of the period that they can sustain a growth rate higher than the growth rate of the economy.
58 To do intrinsic valuation right… Check for consistency:Are your cash flows and discount rates in the same currency?Are you computing cash flows to equity or the firm and are your discount rates computed consistently?Are your growth rate and reinvestment assumptions consistent?Focus on excess returns and competitive advantages; success breeds competition.Recognize that as firms get larger, growth will get more difficult to pull off.Remember that you don’t run the firm, if you are a passive investor. So, do not be cavalier about moving to target debt ratios, higher margin businesses and better dividend policy.
59 To make money on intrinsic valuation… You have to be able to value a company, given its fundamental risk, cash flow and growth characteristics, without being swayed too much by what the market mood may be about the company and the sector.The market has to be making a mistake in pricing one or more of these fundamentals.The market has to correct its mistake sooner or later for you to make money.Proposition 1: For intrinsic valuation to work, you have to be willing to expend time and resources to understand the company you are valuing and to relate its value to its fundamentals.Proposition 2: You need a long time horizon for intrinsic valuation to pay off.Proposition 3: Your universe of investments has to be limited.
60 II. The Relative Value Investor In relative value investing, you compare how stocks are priced to their fundamentals (using multiples) to find under and over valued stocks.This approach to value investing can be traced back to Ben Graham and his screens to find undervalued stocks.In recent years, these screens have been refined and extended and the availability of data and more powerful screening techniques has allowed us to expand these screens and back-test them.
61 Ben Graham’ Screens1. PE of the stock has to be less than the inverse of the yield on AAA Corporate Bonds:2. PE of the stock has to less than 40% of the average PE over the last 5 years.3. Dividend Yield > Two-thirds of the AAA Corporate Bond Yield4. Price < Two-thirds of Book Value5. Price < Two-thirds of Net Current Assets6. Debt-Equity Ratio (Book Value) has to be less than one.7. Current Assets > Twice Current Liabilities8. Debt < Twice Net Current Assets9. Historical Growth in EPS (over last 10 years) > 7%10. No more than two years of negative earnings over the previous ten years.
63 Buffett’s Tenets Business Tenets: Management Tenets: Financial Tenets: The business the company is in should be simple and understandable. The firm should have a consistent operating history, manifested in operating earnings that are stable and predictable. The firm should be in a business with favorable long term prospects.Management Tenets: The managers of the company should be candid. As evidenced by the way he treated his own stockholders, Buffett put a premium on managers he trusted. The managers of the company should be leaders and not followers.Financial Tenets: The company should have a high return on equity. Buffett used a modified version of what he called owner earningsOwner Earnings = Net income + Depreciation & Amortization – Capital Expenditures The company should have high and stable profit margins.Market Tenets: Use conservative estimates of earnings and the riskless rate as the discount rate.In keeping with his view of Mr. Market as capricious and moody, even valuable companies can be bought at attractive prices when investors turn away from them.
64 Be like Buffett? Markets have changed since Buffett started his first partnership. Even Warren Buffett would have difficulty replicating his success in today’s market, where information on companies is widely available and dozens of money managers claim to be looking for bargains in value stocks. In recent years, Buffett has adopted a more activist investment style and has succeeded with it. To succeed with this style as an investor, though, you would need substantial resources and have the credibility that comes with investment success. There are few investors, even among successful money managers, who can claim this combination. The third ingredient of Buffett’s success has been patience. As he has pointed out, he does not buy stocks for the short term but businesses for the long term. He has often been willing to hold stocks that he believes to be under valued through disappointing years. In those same years, he has faced no pressure from impatient investors, since stockholders in Berkshire Hathaway have such high regard for him.
67 What drives price to book ratios? Going back to a simple dividend discount model,This formulation can be simplified even further by relating growth to the return on equity:g = (1 - Payout ratio) * ROESubstituting back into the P/BV equation,In short, a stock can have a low price to book ratio because it has a low return on equity, low growth or high risk.Following a familiar route.. The price to book ratio is an equity multiple and you go back to an equity valuation model…The price to book ratio is determined by the three variables that determine the PE ratio (growth, payout and risk) and one variable that is unique to it (the return on equity)Every multiple has one variable that can be considered its key determinant - its companion variable, so to speak. For PE, it was growth.. For Value/EBITDA, it was the reinvestment rate. For price to book, it is return on equity.
71 The Determinants of PEThe price-earnings ratio for a high growth firm can also be related to fundamentals. In the special case of the two-stage dividend discount model, this relationship can be made explicit fairly simply:For a firm that does not pay what it can afford to in dividends, substitute FCFE/Earnings for the payout ratio.Dividing both sides by the earnings per share:The value of a stock in a two-stage dividend discount model is the sum of two present values:The present value of dividends during the high growth phase - this is the first term in the equation above. It is the present value of a growing annuity. (There is no constraint on the growth rate. In fact, this equation will yield the present value of a growing annuity even if g>r… the denominator will become negative but so will the numerator)The present value of the terminal price… this is the second term in the equation…The PE ratio for a high growth firm is a function of the same three variables that determine the PE ratio for a stable growth firm, though you have to estimate the parameters twice, once for the high growth phase and once for the stable growth phase.
72 Mismatches…The name of the game… A perfect under valued stock would have aLow PE ratioHigh expected earnings per share growthLow riskHigh return on equity (and high dividends)In reality, we will have to make compromises on one or more of these variables.
73 III. Contrarian Value Investing: Buying the Losers The fundamental premise of contrarian value investing is that markets often over react to bad news and push prices down far lower than they should be.A follow-up premise is that they markets eventually recognize their mistakes and correct for them.There is some evidence to back this notion:Studies that look at returns on markets over long time periods chronicle that there is significant negative serial correlation in returns, I.e, good years are more likely to be followed by bad years and vice versa…Studies that focus on individual stocks find the same effect, with stocks that have done well more likely to do badly over the next period, and vice versa.
76 A variation on contrarian value investing… If you accept the premise that markets become over-enamored with companies that are viewed as good and well managed companies and over-sold on companies that are viewed as poorly run with bad prospects, the former should be priced too high and the latter too low.A particularly perverse value investing strategy is to pick badly managed, badly run companies as your investments and wait for the recovery.
77 Good Companies are not necessarily Good Investments…
79 IV. Activist Value Investing An activist value investor having acquired a stake in an “undervalued” company which might also be “badly” managed then pushes the management to adopt those changes which will unlock this value.If the value of the firm is less than its component parts:push for break up of the firm, spin offs, split offs etc.If the firm is being too conservative in its use of debt:push for higher leverage and recapitalizationIf the firm is accumulating too much cash:push for higher dividends, stock repurchases ..If the firm is being badly managed:push for a change in management or to be acquiredIf there are gains from a merger or acquisitionpush for the merger or acquisition, even if it is hostile
83 Determinants of Success at Activist Investing 1. Have lots of capital: Since this strategy requires that you be able to put pressure on incumbent management, you have to be able to take significant stakes in the companies.2. Know your company well: Since this strategy is going to lead a smaller portfolio, you need to know much more about your companies than you would need to in a screening model.3. Understand corporate finance: You have to know enough corporate finance to understand not only that the company is doing badly (which will be reflected in the stock price) but what it is doing badly.4. Be persistent: Incumbent managers are unlikely to roll over and play dead just because you say so. They will fight (and fight dirty) to win. You have to be prepared to counter.5. Do your homework: You have to form coalitions with other investors and to organize to create the change you are pushing for.
84 Growth Investing Value investors focus assets in place Growth investors bet on growth assets: They believe that they can assess their value better than markets
88 Furthermore..And active growth investors seem to beat growth indices more often than value investors beat value indices.
89 Growth Investing Strategies Passive Growth Investing Strategies focus on investing in stocks that pass a specific screen. Classic passive growth screens include:PE < Expected Growth RateLow PEG ratio stocks (PEG ratio = PE/Expected Growth)Earnings Momentum Investing (Earnings Momentum: Increasing earnings growth)Earnings Revisions Investing (Earnings Revision: Earnings estimates revised upwards by analysts)Small Cap InvestingActive growth investing strategies involve taking larger positions and playing more of a role in your investments. Examples of such strategies would include:Venture capital investingPrivate Equity Investing
91 II. Small Cap InvestingOne of the most widely used passive growth strategies is the strategy of investing in small-cap companies. There is substantial empirical evidence backing this strategy, though it is debatable whether the additional returns earned by this strategy are really excess returns.Studies have consistently found that smaller firms (in terms of market value of equity) earn higher returns than larger firms of equivalent risk, where risk is defined in terms of the market beta. In one of the earlier studies, returns for stocks in ten market value classes, for the period from 1927 to 1983, were presented.
95 Are there great stock pickers? Firm Latest qtr. One- year Five- yearCredit Suisse F.B % 36.90% %Prudential SecU.S. Bancorp Piper JMerrill LynchGoldman SachsLehman BrosJ.P. Morgan Sec N.A.Bear StearnsA.G. EdwardsMorgan Stanley D.WRaymond JamesEdward JonesFirst Union Sec N.A.PaineWebberSalomon S.BS&P 500 Index -2.70% 7.20% %
96 Information TradingInformation traders don’t bet on whether a stock is under or over valued. They make judgments on whether the price changes in response to information are appropriate.There are two classes of information tradersThose that believe that markets learn slowlyThose that believe that markets over react
103 To be a successful information trader… Identify the information around which your strategy will be built: Since you have to trade on the announcement, it is critical that you determine in advance the information that will trigger a trade.Invest in an information system that will deliver the information to you instantaneous: Many individual investors receive information with a time lag – 15 to 20 minutes after it reaches the trading floor and institutional investors. While this may not seem like a lot of time, the biggest price changes after information announcements occur during these periods.Execute quickly: Getting an earnings report or an acquisition announcement in real time is of little use if it takes you 20 minutes to trade. Immediate execution of trades is essential to succeeding with this strategy.Keep a tight lid on transactions costs: Speedy execution of trades usually goes with higher transactions costs, but these transactions costs can very easily wipe out any potential you may see for excess returns).Know when to sell: Almost as critical as knowing when to buy is knowing when to sell, since the price effects of news releases may begin to fade or even reverse after a while.
105 Trading and Execution Costs The cost of trading includes four components:the brokerage cost, which tends to decrease as the size of the trade increasesthe bid-ask spread, which generally does not vary with the size of the trade but is higher for less liquid stocksthe price impact, which generally increases as the size of the trade increases and as the stock becomes less liquid.the cost of waiting, which is difficult to measure since it shows up as trades not made.
111 The Trade Off on Trading There are two components to trading and execution - the cost of execution (trading) and the speed of execution.Generally speaking, the tradeoff is between faster execution and lower costs.For some active strategies (especially those based on information) speed is of the essence.Maximize: Speed of ExecutionSubject to: Cost of execution < Excess returns from strategyFor other active strategies (such as those based on long term investing) the cost might be of the essence.Minimize: Cost of ExecutionSubject to: Speed of execution < Specified time period.The larger the fund, the more significant this trading cost/speed tradeoff becomes.
112 Arbitrage Investment Strategies An arbitrage-based investment strategy is based upon buying an asset (at a market price) and selling an equivalent or the same asset at a higher price.A true arbitrage-based strategy is riskfree and hence can be financed entirely with debt. Thus, it is a strategy where an investor can invest no money, take no risk and end up with a pure profit.Most real-world arbitrage strategies (such as those adopted by hedge funds) have some residual risk and require some investment.
113 a. Pure Arbitrage Strategies Mispriced Options when the underlying stock is tradedSince you can replicate a call or a put option using the underlying asset and borrowing/lending, you can create riskfree positions where you buy (sell) the option and sell (buy) the replicating portfolio.This position should be riskless and costless and create guaranteed profits.Mis-priced Futures ContractsRiskless positions can be created using the underlying asset and borrowing and lending (as long as the asset can be stored)Futures on currencies and storable commodities have to obey this arbitrage relationship.Mispriced Default-free BondsThe cash flows on a default free bond are known with certainty.When default-free bonds are priced inconsistently, we should be able to combined them to create riskfree arbitrage.
114 b. Close to Arbitrage Corporate Bonds Securities issued by same firm Corporate bonds of similar default risk should be priced consistently.“Similar” default risk may not be the same as identical default risk, and this can create a residue of risk.This risk will increase as default risk increasesSecurities issued by same firmDebt and equity issued by the same firm should be priced consistently.If they are mispriced relative to each other, you can buy the cheaper one and sell the more expensive one.The valuation is subjective and can be wrong, giving rise to risk.Options issued by firmIf a company has convertible bonds, warrants and listed options outstanding, they have to be priced consistently with each other and with the underlying securities.
115 c. Pseudo ArbitrageQuasi arbitrage is not really arbitrage since it is not even close to riskless. You try to take advantage of what you see as mispricing between two securities that you believe should maintain a consistent pricing relationship.Examples includeLocally listed stock and an ADR, where there are constraints on buying the local listing and converting the ADR into local shares.Paired stocks (example GM and Ford) that have been around a long time and have an established historical relationship.Listings of the same stock in multiple markets, though there are differences between the listings and restrictions on conversion/trading.
116 Hedge Funds: What do they bring to the market? At the heart of all arbitrage based strategies is the capacity to go long and short and the use of leverage.If there is a common component to hedge funds, it is their capacity to do both of these whereas conventional mutual funds are restricted on both counts.Proposition 1: In down or flat markets, hedge funds will always look good relative to conventional mutual funds because of their capacity to short stocks and other assets.Proposition 2: The use of leverage will exaggerate the strengths and weaknesses of investors. A good hedge fund will look better than a good mutual fund and a bad hedge fund will look worse.Proposition 3: If the average hedge fund manager is not smarter or dumber than an average mutual fund manager, history suggests that the freedom they have been granted will hurt more than help.
118 Looking a little closer at the numbers… The average hedge fund earned a lower return (13.26%) over the period than the S&P 500 (16.47%), but it also had a lower standard deviation in returns (9.07%) than the S & P 500 (16.32%). Thus, it seems to offer a better payoff to risk, if you divide the average return by the standard deviation – this is the commonly used Sharpe ratio for evaluating money managers.These funds are much more expensive than traditional mutual funds, with much higher annual fess and annual incentive fees that take away one out of every five dollars of excess returns.
121 Performance Evaluation: Time to pay the piper! Who should measure performance?Performance measurement has to be done either by the client or by an objective third party on the basis of agreed upon criteria. It should not be done by the portfolio manager.How often should performance be measured?The frequency of portfolio evaluation should be a function of both the time horizon of the client and the investment philosophy of the portfolio manager. However, portfolio measurement and reporting of value to clients should be done on a frequent basis.How should performance be measured?Against a market index (with no risk adjustment)Against other portfolio managers, with similar objective functionsAgainst a risk-adjusted return, which reflects both the risk of the portfolio and market performance.Based upon Tracking Error against a benchmark index
123 II. Against Other Portfolio Managers In some cases, portfolio managers are measured against other portfolio managers who have similar objective functions. Thus, a growth fund manager may be measured against all growth fund managers.The implicit assumption in this approach is that portfolio managers with the same objective function have the same exposure to risk.
125 III. Risk-Adjusted Returns The fairest way of measuring performance is to compare the actual returns earned by a portfolio against an expected return, based upon the risk of the portfolio and the performance of the market during the period.All risk and return models in finance take the following form:Expected return = Riskfree Rate + Risk PremiumRisk Premium: Increasing function of the risk of the portfolioThe actual returns are compared to the expected returns to arrive at a measure of risk-adjusted performance:Excess Return = Actual Return - Expected ReturnsThe limitation of this approach is that there are no perfect (or even good risk and return models). Thus, the excess return on a portfolio may be a real excess return or just the result of a poorly specified model.
127 IV. Tracking Error as a Measure of Risk Tracking error measures the difference between a portfolio’s return and its benchmark index. Thus portfolios that deliver higher returns than the benchmark but have higher tracking error are considered riskier.Tracking error is a way of ensuring that a portfolio stays within the same risk level as the benchmark index.It is also a way in which the “active” in active money management can be constrained.
129 So, why is it so difficult to win at this game? Is it a loser’s game?To win at a game, you need a ready supply of losersUnfortunately, losers leave the game early and you end up playing with other winners.As markets develop and become deeper, this tendency is exaggerated.What is your investing edge?Getting an edge in investing is tough to do and even tougher to sustain.Success at investing breeds imitation which makes future success more difficult.Proposition 1: If you don’t bring anything to the table, don’t expect to take anything away in the long term.
130 What makes you special? Institutional claims We are bigger : Size is relative. You may be big but someone is always bigger. Even if you are the biggest investor, it is difficult to see what that gets you unless you are big enough to move the market.Our computers are more powerful: Really?Our analysts are smarter: If they are, they will move elsewhere and claim the rents.We have better traders: See “Our analysts are smarter” and double it.Our information is better: What do you plan to do in jail?Individual claimsWe can wait longer: Patience is rare and there is a payoff.Our tax structure is different: Tax avoidance versus tax evasion?We don’t bow to peer pressure: Contrarian to the core?
132 The Right Investment Philosophy Single Best Strategy: You can choose the one strategy that best suits you. Thus, if you are a long-term investor who believes that markets overreact, you may adopt a passive value investing strategy.Combination of strategies: You can adopt a combination of strategies to maximize your returns. In creating this combined strategy, you should keep in mind the following caveats:You should not mix strategies that make contradictory assumptions about market behavior over the same periods. Thus, a strategy of buying on relative strength would not be compatible with a strategy of buying stocks after very negative earnings announcements. The first strategy is based upon the assumption that markets learn slowly whereas the latter is conditioned on market overreaction.When you mix strategies, you should separate the dominant strategy from the secondary strategies. Thus, if you have to make choices in terms of investments, you know which strategy will dominate.
133 In closing…Choosing an investment philosophy is at the heart of successful investing. To make the choice, though, you need to look within before you look outside. The best strategy for you is one that matches both your personality and your needs.Your choice of philosophy will also be affected by what you believe about markets and investors and how they work (or do not). Since your beliefs are likely to be affected by your experiences, they will evolve over time and your investment strategies have to follow suit.
134 If you walk like a lemming, run like a lemming… you are a lemming
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