The Effective Combination of Risk-Based Strategies with Momentum and Trend Following

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 Last revised: 1 Nov 2015

Date Written: August 7, 2015


The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) has been widely called into question in the investment literature, through two main anomalies: timing and low-volatility anomalies. In this paper, we aim to combine the predictive power of timing and low-volatility strategies to deliver better risk-adjusted portfolio performance. We adopt a two-step approach for a constant dataset composed of 18 country MSCI stock market indices over the 1975-2014 period. First, we use different timing strategies: moving averages and momentum. We select stock market indices based on different moving averages (6, 8, 10, and 12 months), while the momentum strategy ranks the different stock market indices into momentum subsets (low, medium, and high momentum). After the first step using the different timing strategies, the second step consists in building risk-based portfolios (MV, ERC, and MD) as well as 1/N benchmark portfolios for each of these timing strategies. Our results highlight the effectiveness, the relevance and the robustness of our approach. First, risk-based portfolios using relevant timing strategy indeed provide better returns, lower volatilities, higher Sharpe ratios, and lower Value-at-Risk (VaR) and Expected Shortfall (ES) than traditional risk-based portfolios. The second contribution of our approach features that risk-based strategies provide better risk-adjusted returns and lower VaR and ES than the 1/N portfolio within a context in which the first step is dedicated to the application of a relevant timing strategy. Finally, among these risk-based portfolios using relevant timing strategies, the MD and MV portfolios usually obtain the best risk-adjusted performance.

Keywords: Portfolio Optimization, Risk-Based Strategies, Trend Following, Momentum

JEL Classification: G10, G11, G19

Suggested Citation

Guilmin, Grégory, The Effective Combination of Risk-Based Strategies with Momentum and Trend Following (August 7, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Grégory Guilmin (Contact Author)

University of Namur ( email )

8 rempart de la vierge
Namur, 5000

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