The Value of Low Volatility
17 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 10, 2016
The evidence for the existence of a distinct low-volatility effect is mounting. However, implicit exposures to the Fama-French value factor (HML) seem to explain the performance of straightforward U.S. low-volatility strategies since 1963. In this paper I show that the value effect can neither explain the performance of large-cap low-volatility strategies pre-1963, nor post 1984, when the Fama-French value factor itself ceased to be effective in the large-cap segment of the market. Moreover, the performance of small-cap low-volatility strategies cannot be explained by the value effect during any period. Fama-MacBeth regressions support the existence of a low-volatility effect for every subsample. Based on these results and various other arguments I conclude that there exists a distinct low-volatility effect which cannot be explained by the value effect. The combined evidence even appears to be stronger for the low-volatility effect than for the value effect.
Keywords: low volatility, low beta, betting against beta, value
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation