Quality: A Distinct Equity Factor?
22 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 26, 2014
Size, momentum, volatility and value have all been shown to be partly responsible for explaining equity returns over the long run but they do not seem to fully capture the returns of some companies. This has therefore given credence to the idea that a fifth factor – quality – exists and, when combined with other risk factors, acts as a good diversifier in investment portfolios.
There isn’t much agreement on what ‘quality’ is or how it should be measured. Some simply equate it to profitability and others, believing it to be a multi-faceted concept, use more complex measures (e.g. the Piotroski’s F score). Regardless of the approach taken, the aim of any quality measure should help estimate a company’s future profitability and understand its source of risk. Broadly speaking, high-quality companies should generate higher revenue and enjoy more stable growth than the average company. This is why we believe that any good quality measure should take into account profitability generation, earnings quality and financial robustness.
Keywords: smart beta; alternative beta; advanced beta; tilts; value; size; momentum; low volatility; risk factors; equities; passive investments; indexing
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