Risk Management and the Optimal Combination of Equity Market Factors

Financial Analysts Journal, 2020, 76(3): 57–79.

Posted: 14 Nov 2019 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Roger G Clarke

Roger G Clarke

Ensign Peak Advisors

Harindra de Silva

Analytic Investors, Inc.

Steven Thorley

BYU Marriott School of Business

Date Written: February 25, 2020

Abstract

Managing the intertemporal risk of optimally constructed multifactor portfolios adds to performance. The increases in Sharpe ratios are in addition to the utility that investors gain from controlling how much active risk they are exposed to over time. We derive a simple closed-form formula for security weights in optimal multifactor portfolios with an active-risk target. We test the risk control of five well-known factors—value, momentum, small size, low beta, and profitability—and the optimal multifactor portfolio. Our empirical research was carried out on the large-capitalization US equity market for 1966 through 2019. We conclude that for the equity market, more active factors are better than fewer if each factor subportfolio is “pure” as to factor, anchored to the benchmark, and combined on the basis of forecastable risks. Our portfolio construction methodology allows for transparent performance attribution and replication of the process in other markets and time periods.

Keywords: Factor Investing, Risk Management

JEL Classification: G11

Suggested Citation

Clarke, Roger G and de Silva, Harindra and Thorley, Steven, Risk Management and the Optimal Combination of Equity Market Factors (February 25, 2020). Financial Analysts Journal, 2020, 76(3): 57–79., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3486035 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3486035

Roger G Clarke

Ensign Peak Advisors ( email )

60 East South Temple
4th Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
United States

Harindra De Silva

Analytic Investors, Inc. ( email )

555 West 5th Street
50th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
United States
213-688-3015 (Phone)
213-688-8856 (Fax)

Steven Thorley (Contact Author)

BYU Marriott School of Business ( email )

616 TNRB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-378-6065 (Phone)
801-378-5984 (Fax)

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