Five Concerns with the Five-Factor Model
17 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2016 Last revised: 23 Feb 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2016
Fama and French (2015) propose to augment their classic (1993) 3-factor model with profitability and investment factors, resulting in a 5-factor model, which is likely to become the new benchmark for asset pricing studies. Although the 5-factor model exhibits significantly improved explanatory power, we identify five concerns with regard to the new model. First, it maintains the CAPM relation between market beta and return, despite mounting evidence that the empirical relation is flat, or even negative. Second, it continues to ignore the, by now, widely accepted momentum effect. Third, there are a number of robustness concerns with regard to the two new factors. Fourth, whereas risk-based explanations were key for justifying the factors in the 3-factor model, the economic rationale for the two new factors is much less clear. Fifth and finally, it does not seem likely that the 5-factor model is going to settle the main asset pricing debates or lead to consensus.
Keywords: asset pricing, 5-factor model, 3-factor model, CAPM, low-beta, momentum
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation