The Conservative Formula: Quantitative Investing Made Easy

21 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2018

See all articles by Pim van Vliet

Pim van Vliet

Robeco Quantitative Investments

David Blitz

Robeco Quantitative Investments

Date Written: March 21, 2018


We propose a conservative investment formula which selects 100 stocks based on three criteria: low return volatility, high net payout yield, and strong price momentum. We show that this simple formula gives investors full and efficient exposure to the most important factor premiums, and thus effectively summarizes half a century of empirical asset pricing research into one easy to implement investment strategy. With a compounded annual return of 15.1 percent since 1929, the conservative formula outperforms the market by a wide margin. It reduces downside risk and shows a positive return over every decade. The formula is also strong in European, Japanese and Emerging stock markets, and beats a wide range of other strategies based on size, value, quality, and momentum combinations. The formula is designed to be a practically useful tool for a broad range of investors and addresses academic concerns about ‘p-hacking’ by using three simple criteria, which do not even require accounting data.

Keywords: Quantitative Investing, Factor Investing, Low Volatility, Net Payout, Momentum, Conservative Formula

JEL Classification: G11, G12, G15

Suggested Citation

van Vliet, Pim and Blitz, David, The Conservative Formula: Quantitative Investing Made Easy (March 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Pim Van Vliet (Contact Author)

Robeco Quantitative Investments ( email )

Rotterdam, 3011 AG

David Blitz

Robeco Quantitative Investments ( email )

Weena 850
Rotterdam, 3014 DA

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics